Last weekend, four Penn women ventured south of the Mason-Dixon Line and came back with $10,000.
The all-women team — comprised of Wharton senior Daphne Calderon-Sitiriche, Wharton junior Amber Jin, Wharton sophomore Sally Zhao and Wharton and Engineering junior Ashley Yuki — won first place in the undergraduate division of the 2010 Marketing Summit at the Wake Forest University School of Business.
They designed a marketing strategy for the IBM Smarter Planet Initiative and received a $10,000 prize for their winning design.
The prize will be split five ways — between the four team members and Wharton’s Marketing Undergraduate Students Establishment.
MUSE competed and won the competition 3 years ago and won second place last year.
Calderon-Sitiriche, the captain of the team, and Jin are members of MUSE. Yuki and Zhao both applied and interviewed for positions on the team for the IBM challenge.
Penn’s team was funded and sponsored by Wharton’s Marketing Department.
Keith Niedermeier, a Wharton professor, served as coach.
Students were challenged at the Summit to spend 36 hours developing a marketing plan for IBM’s Smarter Cities program.
The challenge was to design a “way to infuse existing [city] infrastructures with new intelligence and revitalize cities to make them smarter and more efficient,” according to Sylvia Green, a spokeswoman for Wake Forest.
The challenge consisted of “taking the information and pulling out certain facts,” Jin said. “There was a lot of research, and we had to set up a strategy and create a tactic. At the same time, we wanted to be creative and innovative.”
The team also researched and worked on their strategy before the competition, preparing for all possible challenges.
They were only informed that the challenge would involve IBM, not the specifics of the challenge.
Once they got to the competition, they worked non-stop, according to Yuki.
“We got there Thursday morning and we were up for a total of 50 hours and slept for 2 of them,” Yuki explained.
Even so, the team really enjoyed the competition, Jin said.
“While it was very intense, it was also a lot of fun. We met so many people, and I’ve gotten to know these girls so well,” Zhao explained.
The team members also appreciated that the challenge was a “real-world problem,” Jin said.
Although IBM will not use the exact model “they will take ideas from each one and condense it,” Calderon-Sitiriche said.
The Penn team was the only all-female team in the competition. One competitor named them the “Powderpuff team.”
“[Creating a female team] wasn’t purposeful,” Yuki said. “When you’re in Wharton, you kind of forget that in the business world there isn’t a 50-50 ratio of gender … the women here are so active.”
The competition was also relevant to the team members’ career paths and interests.
“I am really interested in how you can apply business concepts specifically to technology companies,” Yuki said. “It is something I want to do in the future as a career — it is a passion of mine.”Comments powered by Disqus
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