Target Executives So Impressed by Case Competition that They Plan to Return to UConn
Freshmen Elizabeth “Lizzie” Perry and Josh Schramm have three things in common: they are born leaders, they enjoy being involved on campus, and they each have a bit of a competitive streak.
So when Nathan Ives, director of the Business Connections Learning Community (BCLC), introduced them and suggested they organize a case competition, they didn’t hesitate.
Last month’s Target Case Study Competition left a lasting impression on the judges, who were impressed by both the organizers and the School of Business.
“I have been involved with Target Case Study Competitions at other schools in New England for over 10 years, and I can honestly say both Elizabeth and Josh were two of the most impressive college students I have had the pleasure of working with,” said Greg Pare, a Target senior recruiter. “Both Elizabeth and Josh were simply amazing with organizing and running the competition at UConn. I was so impressed with their professionalism.”
“They are both outstanding representatives of the UConn School of Business and I know their future will be bright with many opportunities because of the way they present themselves,” he added.
Both students had leadership experience in their high schools. Schramm, from Tolland, Conn., was involved in DECA, a business-related organization, ultimately serving as director of public relations and membership.
Perry found her niche with Model UN, serving as an officer, helping participants craft their presentations, and conducting fundraising and other duties.
For the Target competition, the two students did a tremendous amount of behind-the-scenes work, said Rebecca Vicki, a School of Business staff member who was involved in the event. From choosing the sponsor company to presenting the idea to their peers, they “took the idea and ran with it from start to finish,” she said. The two have embraced the opportunities that are available to them, but also offered professional experiences for their peers, she said.
“They were amazing,” agreed Nathan Ives. “They jumped at the chance and they led the whole thing, from choosing a company to present the case to matching the student teams. Their work was awesome. They exhibited real leadership. Lizzie and Josh are thorough, focused, good students.”
For the Target case competition, each team—composed of freshmen and/or sophomores—had a week to prepare innovative ways to help make Target stores more in line with the company’s online retail services. The winning team included: Julia Merani, Joe Gauthier, Jonathan Wintenberg, Clay Leopold, and Jess Nieves. They described a sophisticated shopping experience that incorporated many virtual elements.
“They wanted our teams to produce something that was innovative and unique,” said Perry, noting that the teams were all very well prepared. “They wanted us to take chances.”
Perry said freshmen shouldn’t hesitate to lead.
“I would tell other freshmen to start early and find something they are passionate about,” she said. “Preparing for the case competition was a lot of work, but I enjoyed doing it.”
“I love being able to organize things and being involved and connected,” said Schramm, whose dad is a UConn alumnus. “I know I can make a change.”
“I always expected to be involved at UConn but I didn’t expect it to open so many doors for me,” said Perry. She has been nominated for a leadership award and was encouraged to apply for a Target internship. She was selected to be a First Year Experience mentor and was elected president of the BCLC.
Schramm successfully ran for BCLC vice president.
Schramm and Perry are already thinking about ways they could improve on next year’s competition. And Target executives are eager to return.
Perry is interested in pursuing a degree in business management and loves the automotive industry. Her father is an insurance appraiser and she works at an auto body store when she’s home.
Schramm is pursuing accounting and hopes to be a partner at Deloitte someday.