Allegheny College Students Excel at National Business Competition

Matthew Lacombe

Matthew Lacombe

MEADVILLE, Pa. – Nov. 20, 2009 – Allegheny College students Matthew Lacombe and Lauren Lambert served on two teams that took top spots at the Early Leaders Case Competition—a prestigious event designed to simulate decisions faced by global business leaders—held recently at the University of Rochester’s Simon Graduate School of Business.

Lacombe, a political science and economics double major and philosophy minor from Cleveland, Ohio, and his team placed first in the competition. The fifth-place team included Lambert, an economics and communication arts double major from Worthington, Pa. The top five teams shared $15,000 in prize money.

Only 50 students were selected to participate in the competition. Upon arrival, students were divided into teams of five and received a case study about Zipcar, the world’s largest car-sharing company.

Teams had 24 hours to develop a proposal that identified areas of strategic expansion or innovation. They also devised models assessing potential risks and identifying likely costs and revenues. The competition culminated with teams delivering 15-minute presentations to promote their proposals.

Lauren Lambert

Lauren Lambert

“Our team proposed a model that would have Zipcar gradually make a significant portion of its fleet consist of electric vehicles,” said Lacombe. “We argued that doing so would make the company more profitable by avoiding the risks involved with volatile gas prices while simultaneously furthering its eco-friendly, community-oriented mission.”

In addition to Lacombe, the first-place team included students from Barnard College, Lafayette College, the University of Rochester and the College of Wooster.

Lambert’s team included students from the University of Alabama, Houghton College, Mercyhurst College and the University of Rochester.

“The Early Leaders Case Competition proved to be an extremely valuable experience,” said Lambert. “We were able to work with a diverse team of our peers to create a presentation that showcased our business knowledge and creativity.”