Winning Approaches: First AND Third Place, Kellogg Biotech & Healthcare Case Competition

Kellogg biotech first place team
First place winners Yelena Bushman, MBA 13, Kristian Lau, MBA/MPH 13, Ken Su, MBA/MPH 13, Brian Feth, MBA 13, Ji-Hong Boo MBA/MPH 13

 The competition: Kellogg Biotech & Healthcare Case Competition, held on Jan. 26.

The outcome: Haas teams placed first and third.

The teams: First place: Yelena Bushman, MBA 13, of the Evening & Weekend MBA Program; full-time MBA students Ji-Hong Boo, Kristian Lau, and Ken Su, all MBA/MPH 13; and Brian Feth, MBA 13. Third place: In third place were Nick Mascioli and Darya Rose, both MBA 13; Anthony Baldor and Chris Burke, both MBA 14; and Alana Tucker, MBA/MPH 14.

The Field: A total of 38 teams applied, from which 10 teams were selected to compete: two teams each from Haas, Booth, and Kellogg, plus teams from Harvard and Cambridge.

The challenge: "We were asked by a large pharma to value the lead drug in development at a smaller biotech acquisition target," says Brian Feth. "The drug was in development for obesity and had a number of risks that made the valuation not straight-forward. "

The winning approaches: Team Goldenbear Biosciences, which placed first, built a bottoms-up valuation model based on narrowing the potential patient population to an addressable market and ultimately to revenues. "Given the short timeline, and the nature of the deliverable (powerpoint presentation), we realized that the ability to communicate the process clearly would be far more important than getting every detail of the model perfect," says Feth. "We spent the early part of the week preparing and reviewing the model together, and the latter half of the week building the story and populating slides. We did make sure to sense check assumptions and try and triangulate various assumptions against each other. It was clear that some teams had not done this by the unrealistic valuations they presented."

What made them winners: "We were told by the judges that we had the best overall mix of logical valuation methodology, communication style, strategy, and patient understanding," says Feth. "One judge told me that we built the model and told the story in exactly the same way that they would at Abbott/AbbVie.

The H factor: "Confidence without attitude helped us to present our findings and answer questions candidly and with confidence, as we would with a client or management," says Feth. We were noted for discussing the "patient journey" which is something that has roots in the course Problem Finding Problem Solving, as well as being discussed regularly in pharma companies as a key element of their customer focus. Tucker says skills from PFPS and Leadership Communication also played a role in the third-place team’s strong showing and in their ability to put together a succinct and compelling story. “Most importantly,” she says, “we worked well as a team to test one another’s assumptions and come to consensus, which Haas emphasizes throughout the curriculum.”

Why it matters: "The increasing rates of obesity in the US are driving much of the increasing healthcare costs - obesity is one of the huge problems facing our generation that will require path-bending leaders to solve.," says Feth.

About The Author

From 2011-2013, Valerie Gilbert focused on sharing stories of Berkeley MBA student achievements and connection to the Haas Defining Principles. At Haas since 2004 and now Associate Director of Content Marketing, she still enjoys revealing the different facets of life at Berkeley-Haas to a variety of audiences.