It was an inspiring display of whole-brain thinking and doing at the Navigant Consulting Business Strategy Competition finals on Saturday May 30th. Five multi-disciplinary teams reached the finals and were presenting at the Navigant Office in Downtown Chicago. The teams had student representation from McCormick Engineering, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern Law and Segal Institute of Design and they proudly showcased their analysis on how to commercialize a new inhalable insulin drug. The teams were asked to design the presentations assuming that they are presenting to the board of directors of a young biotech company who has the delivery mechanism patent for 15 more years. The teams were expected to cover strategies that address both the technical and financial aspects, including exit strategies at different stages.
Navigant Consulting is a specialized, global professional services firm with deep expertise in different areas including financial management services, investigation services, litigation support services, and business management consulting services. Navigant Consulting partnered with the Master of Engineering Management(MEM) program at McCormick to expose students to real world scenarios, and chose a topic that Navigant has a lot of experience in – IP valuation and commercialization in the Biotech industry. During the initial planning stages it was clear to the organizing committee that this competition would require teams with multi-disciplinary skills, so MEM worked with MSL(Master of Science in Law) at Northwestern Law to plan and market the competition. More than 30 participants from all over Northwestern participated in the competition and worked on the ideas for almost ten weeks. The total prize money for the competition was $3000. Each team had a mentor from Navigant to guide them through the competition.
It was a fiercely competitive event and each team approached the problem from different perspectives, and came up with some really high quality recommendations. All the judges – Navigant Directors & Professors and Program Directors from Northwestern – were quite impressed with the final deliverables. They had a tough time deciding who the best team was and finally decided to split the first place between two team. Andy Hung-Yi Le(MD, Feinberg) and Sandeep Pawar(MEM, McCormick) was one of the winning teams and did a complex valuation on the potential of the drug and also various commercializing options the company had . The other winner was the team comprising of Gitanjali Murthy(MEM, McCormick), Liang Mu(MSL, Northwestern Law) and Michael Vu(MD, Feinberg). They analyzed the market thoroughly and did a detailed analysis on the competitors. The runner-up was the team comprising of Ali Hemmati(MEM, McCormick), Matt Myers(MEM, McCormick) and Susan Varghese(MPDD, Segal Design Institute).
The key take way for each team from this competition, in addition to learning about the biotech/pharmaceutical industry and also interacting with Navigant Consulting, was the value of working in teams with people from diverse backgrounds and specialties. One feedback that the organizing committee received repeatedly from all the teams was that the participants were impressed by their teammates’ skillset and dedication. The teams that made into the finals clearly clicked as a group and did an excellent job in playing their part to get their respective teams to the final round. Here are some of the memorable moments from the competition.
This is a special collaboration to the MEM Blog by Chacko Poothicote: