LSU Wins 2018 SEC MBA Case Competition

Left to right: Luke Cashen (advisor), Michael Lacombe, Daniel Hofmann, Roman Lantukh and Jack Anjier

Left to right: Luke Cashen (advisor), Michael Lacombe, Daniel Hofmann, Roman Lantukh and Jack Anjier

April 16, 2018

BATON ROUGE – LSU won first place in the 2018 SEC MBA Case Competition held at the LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business, April 12-14. The winning team was comprised of Jack Anjier of New Orleans, La.; Daniel Hofmann of Furth, Germany; Michael Lacombe of Gonzales, La. and Roman Lantukh of Ivanivka, Ukraine. Luke Cashen, an instructor in the LSU Flores MBA Program, was the team’s advisor. This is the first SEC MBA Case Competition Championship for the university.

“This year we came with a different approach, and I can’t give enough credit to the rest of my team,” said Lacombe. “It was a full team effort. It wasn’t just one of us; it was all of us. But, in a phrase, this is an utter shock.”

Teams were asked to solve a business problem faced by Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, a Louisiana-based company. Teams were challenged to develop a strategy and action plan that would elevate the company’s brand from the emerging state to the branded stage in key U.S. and global markets. 


LSU’s recommendation included a three-tiered solution focusing on an enhanced customer loyalty program, implementation of technology to support mobile pay and a more focused philanthropic effort to help shorten the gap in building brand loyalty in newer markets.


The 14 four-person teams were randomly drawn into four divisions, had approximately 24 hours to outline a solution to the problem and to organize a related presentation. A panel of judges from Raising Cane’s considered each presentation and the top four teams advanced to the finals.


The University of Tennessee finished second in the competition, followed by the University of Missouri and Vanderbilt University. This was LSU’s second time to reach the finals.


“Working with the Southeastern Conference and LSU on this competition was a great experience for us,” said Matt Massey, regional vice president of Raising Cane’s. “While we were excited to support LSU by providing a development opportunity for the students, we also had the privilege of having the brightest minds in the SEC present us with many great ideas that could be implemented in our business. We had high expectations for these MBA students, and they delivered.”


“I am honored and humbled to be a part of this team of young professionals who put forth the effort, dedication, time and commitment to winning this competition,” said Cashen, the team’s advisor. “These types of events connect industry with academia, and it is critical for students to receive a realistic preview of what these challenges are and how to approach them under pressure. Sometimes your recommendation isn’t chosen, and that is reflective of corporate America.”

Individual competition awards were given for the best presenter in each division, as determined by the judges. Jessica Banks from the University of Alabama (Division A); Jonny Schultz from the University of Arkansas (Division B); Megan Barnes from the University of Florida (Division C) and Mark Zekoff from Auburn University (Division D) were named Best Presenters for 2018.

In addition, awards were given for the individuals who conducted the best question and answer session with the judges. Megan Garner from the University of Mississippi (Division A); Zachary Rowe from the University of Kentucky (Division B); John Cordera from Mississippi State University (Division C) and Michael Lacombe from LSU (Division D) each received Best Q&A recognition for their respective divisions.

The SEC MBA Case Competition began in 2013 and provides opportunities for SEC business schools to showcase their students’ skills at solving simulated, real-world problems. The 2019 competition will be held at the University of Tennessee.

A full list of winners from the 2018 SEC MBA Case Competition is below.

Final Team SEC MBA Case Competition Results

First Place: LSU (Jack Anjier, Daniel Hofmann, Michael Lacombe, Roman Lantukh and Luke Cashen, advisor)

Second Place: University of Tennessee (Carson Hollingsworth, Davis Michelle, Morgan Sowers, Abbey Wegman and Dr. Randy Bradley, advisor)

Third Place: University of Missouri (Troy Broeker, Shraddha Hedge, Troy Broeker, Lycus Woo and Jana Stern, advisor)

Fourth Place: Vanderbilt University (Charlie Cook, Johnny Lai, Allie Lord, Rupal Patel and Kelly Christie, advisor)

Best Presenter Award

Jessica Banks, University of Alabama (Division A)

Jonny Schultz, University of Arkansas (Division B)

Megan Barnes, University of Florida (Division C)

Mark Zekoff, Auburn University (Division D)

Best Q&A Award

Megan Garner, University of Mississippi (Division A)

Zachary Rowe, University of Kentucky (Division B)

John Cordera, Mississippi State University (Division C)

Michael Lacombe, Louisiana State University (Division D)

About the Southeastern Conference

The Southeastern Conference sponsors, supports and promotes collaborative higher education programs and activities involving administrators, faculty and students at its 14 member universities. The SEC also provides online and social media platforms to showcase achievements of these individuals on regional, national and international levels.


About the Flores MBA Program

The mission of the LSU Flores MBA Program is to remain competitive in the national and regional markets, while fostering learning, leadership and networking in a global business environment. Full-time, professional, executive and online tracks are offered and provide schedule flexibility for those wishing to pursue their MBA from a nationally recognized program. For more information, visit our home page or call 225-578-8867. 


Angela McBride
LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business