BYU Students Score Top Recommendations for Snowboard Retailer

A team comprised of two MBA students from Brigham Young University took first place at the Adobe Web Analytics Competition, besting teams from universities around the nation. Using Adobe's analytical software, SiteCatalyst, teams found ways to increase website profitability for this year's client,

Merritt Aho and Alex Sakaguchi teamed up under the name Check Plus Plus and won $15,000 for their first place recommendations for the snowboarding gear retailer. Both are second-year MBA students with an emphasis in marketing and are from Provo and Kailua, Hawaii, respectively.

"We were lucky enough to have a great team dynamic," Aho says. "As we found opportunities on the site, we discussed and debated them endlessly to ensure our ideas were well vetted."

Aho and Sakaguchi, along with all teams involved in the competition, were given access to the company's website statistics and charged with the task of gathering data, performing analysis and providing judges with data-driven recommendations on how the company can add value through the online store.

Schools involved in the competition included Brigham Young University; New York University; University of Wisconsin-Madison; University of Missouri; University of Utah; and Vanderbilt University.

Student teams competed against their peers at their own schools during the first round of the competition. The top team from each participating school was chosen and invited to Utah for the intercollegiate competition finals hosted by BYU's Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology. Finalists had fifteen minutes to present their recommendations to judges who then awarded the $25,000 prize money which was divided among the top four teams.

Those involved in the competition gained valuable experience in the growing field of Web analytics.

"Many participants have informed me that their knowledge of Web analytics and overall website optimization was significantly increased," says Jeff Brown, an assistant director at the Rollins Center. "These skills are highly sought after in today's job market and continues to be the reason our center and the Marriott School are proud to be affiliated with this great event."   

The Marriott School is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. The school has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, public management, information systems and entrepreneurship. The school's mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,000 students are enrolled in the Marriott School's graduate and undergraduate programs.

Media Contact: Joseph Ogden (801) 422-8938
Writer: Tyler Weaver