Yale School of Management

Students take on dinosaurs in inaugural Greater Yale Case Competition

The dinosaurs in the Peabody Museum are moving and groups of students from around campus got together to figure out what to do about it.

During the inaugural Greater Yale Case Competition (GYCC), Yale students envisioned the Peabody Museum’s future after a planned renovation.  Twenty teams made up of 90 students from nine of Yale’s professional schools, the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and Yale College gathered on Saturday, February 10th in Evans Hall to present their strategy for the museum.

The School of Management’s Case Research and Development Team (CRDT) organized the event and authored the case study.

Jennifer Fischer, a joint degree student of the School of Management (SOM) and Yale School of Medicine, Helen Li, a student at Yale Law School, and Eric Smith, a PhD candidate in History created the winning presentation (the team also included Addison Genenbacher, SOM  and Sunny Chung, Yale School of Medicine). The first place team received a cash prize of $3,000.

Avangrid, Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale (CITY), and the Yale School of Management were the principal sponsors of the event. Square360 (web designers of the open source raw case template), and the Yale Graduate and Professional Student Senate also contributed financial support.

Case competition started on Friday

Students entered in teams of four to six with the stipulation that each team had to have students from at least two different Yale schools.

Contest organizers did not disclose the topic of the case until the day of the event. Students who signed up to participate received the case study at noon on Friday, February 9.

CRDT created the case that reviewed the Peabody Museum’s history, mission, collections, financials, and audiences. The case team utilized CRDT’s signature raw case template to convey the material, presenting videos, text and documents in an online site. The case asked students to create a strategy for the Peabody to enhance engagement with its audiences and discuss how the physical space and activities should be configured to support the strategy.

In addition to the case study, contestants received a private tour of the museum on Friday afternoon. They not only viewed the exhibits, but also walked behind the scenes to experience the museum’s extensive research labs and collections.

On Saturday morning, the contestants gathered in Evans Hall to finalize their strategies and presentations. In the afternoon, GYCC organizers divided the student teams among four rooms where judges chose one winner to compete in a final round. The winner of each room proceeded to the finals, held immediately following the end of round one.

After the final round, contestants and judges headed across the street from Evans Hall to the Peabody for a dinner amongst the dinosaurs and presentation of the awards. Beside the $3,000 first prize, the second place team garnered $2,000 and the third place team, $1,000.

Competition fosters cross campus collaboration

During the evening dinner, Peabody Director David Skelly praised the student presentations, noting that the teams had generated insights in their 36 hours of analysis that had taken him four years to develop.

SOM Case Director Jaan Elias noted that the case competition was conceived to foster cross-campus collaboration. “The word ‘greater’ in the title of the case competition has two senses,” Elias said. “The first is that it is about Yale aspiring to make a greater contribution to its community. The second is that it draws on all of the talents of the entire Yale community.”

One of the goals of the School of Management is to be the business school most connected with its home university. The contest allowed SOM students to work with and meet students from every part of the university.

Another motivation for the case study competition was to encourage the use of case studies across campus. “Case studies are not just being used in the School of Management,” Elias observed. “But also in places as diverse as the School of Drama and the School of Public Health.”

Additional finalists and judges

Second Place Team: Adam Matula, GSAS; Elizabeth Scott, GSAS; Justin White, GSAS; Matthew Piva, GSAS; Sarah Malkowski, GSAS; Sean Massa, Divinity

Third Place Team: Ema Tanovic, GSAS; Rebeca Vergara Greeno, MED; Shannon Dulaney, SOM/FES; Shuyu Song, YC

Finals Judges: David Skelly, Director of the Peabody and Frank R. Oastler Professor of Ecology; William Goetzmann, Edwin J. Beinecke Professor of Finance and Management Studies & Director of the International Center for Finance; and Jessica Helfand, Lecturer in Design and Management at the School of Management, and Senior Critic in Graphic Design at the Yale School of Art

Round One Judges: (from Tsai CITY) Cass Walker-Harvey and Emma Funk; (from Yale Center for Engineering Innovation & Design) Joseph Zinter; (from the SOM) George Newman, Roz Wiggins, Jean Rosenthal and Jaan Elias; (from the Peabody) Sally Pallatto, Hannah Meyer, Richard Boardman, Jonathan Rohner, and Chris Norris.

Contest Organizers: Julie Hawthorne, SOM CRDT; Jennifer Gilbert, SOM/Public Health

Accessing the Peabody Case Study

Yale faculty, students, and staff may access the Peabody case for free via the Yale SOM online case study directory. For all others, the case is available for a nominal fee through one of SOM’s business case distributors.

To learn more, visit the case listing - Peabody Museum: Imagining the Future of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History.