BYU student team wins HP case competition

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Cory Henderson, Lee Chang, Ben Johnson, and Mitch Owens are excited about the prizes they received for winning the case competition. (Michaela Proctor)
From left, Cory Henderson, Lee Chang, Ben Johnson, and Mitch Owens are excited about the prizes they received for winning the case competition. (Michaela Proctor)

Hewlett-Packard (HP) led the world in PC manufacturing from 2007 to 2013, but now it seeks help from BYU students in connecting with the upcoming technological decision-makers–millennials.

The BYU Business Strategy Club regularly holds case competitions where students have the opportunity to address a real problem that a real company is facing. Last week, HP held the final round for a case competition inviting students to come up with ways the company could reach out and appeal to the rising generation.

“(HP was) asking what they need to do and what they need to offer to these millennials that are becoming more and more of the decision makers, and what they could offer these millennials to make them want to buy from HP,” Cory Henderson, a member of the winning team, said.

Five teams proposed solutions during the final round of the competition. Suggested solutions included partnering with popular apps and doing more social good to appeal to a generation of influencers.

Henderson and Lee Chang, both BYU business strategy majors, teamed up with Ben Johnson, an Italian and economics major, and Mitch Owens, an English major, and won the competition with the solution they presented.

The team suggested HP needed to keep up with other tech companies and develop an artificial intelligence bot of their own. This bot would be able to answer questions online and provide fast service and maintenance to a generation who expects speed.

BYU alumnus and business analyst at HP Kyle Nottingham said he was impressed with the remarkable work of all the student teams, but Henderson, Chang, Johnson and Owens’ team stood out.

“The winning team differentiated themselves by meeting all the criteria provided by HP as well as providing an impressive level of primary research and innovation and creativity,” Nottingham said.

Lee Chang present to a board of judges from HP. (Michaela Proctor)
Lee Chang presented to a board of judges from HP. Chang and his team won the HP competition. (Michaela Proctor)

Owens said the diversity his team had and their openness to different ideas is what made them so successful in the competition. With a team from a variety of backgrounds and majors, they had fresh ideas outside of the business strategy perspective, Henderson said.

Nottingham, who sat on the panel of HP judges, saw this case competition as a great opportunity for both HP and BYU. He said coming up with solutions to a real company’s problem develops skills, builds resumes and opens paths for future internships and careers.

“HP recognizes that there are good ideas and smart people everywhere. BYU is flooded with innovation and exceptional students,” Nottingham said.

Business strategy major and member another competing team Rachel Durtschi has participated in 12 case competitions during her time at BYU, but said this case competition had the greatest participation by far.

Though each member of the winning team received a HP Spectre laptop and a HP jacket, Owens said the opportunity to go and present to executives at HP headquarters in Silicon Valley is invaluable.

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