Incoming MBA Students Put to the Test at Oncor Case Competition

Winning Team
On Thursday, August 20, as part of the START orientation workshop, incoming MBA students were put to the test in front of a room full of recruiters—all before classes even begin next week. The challenge? A case competition sponsored by Oncor and created especially for incoming TCU MBA students. 

“This case competition is unique among MBA programs,” says Peggy Conway, director of graduate admissions. “You won’t find many other MBA programs that have their students working on a live corporate case and presenting in front of recruiters as part of their orientation experience.”

The competition is designed to give students a taste of the experiential learning environment at Neeley and offers a chance for students to sample the resources that will be available to them once classes begin.

Another key benefit of the competition: the chance for students to showcase their skills in front of Oncor execs and recruiters from other companies. With interviews for summer 2016 internships beginning in only a few weeks, employers are anxious to get a preview of the incoming class.

Oncor has participated as reviewers for the case competitions for several years, but this is the company’s first year to sponsor the case. Previous sponsors have included Frito-Lay and AT&T. Sponsoring the competition gives Oncor the opportunity to develop a case that could inspire students to consider putting their MBA to work in the energy industry. The company often hires TCU MBA students as interns and, later, as full-time employees upon graduation.

The case students tackled was a “strategy-based case to give students the opportunity to learn about how Oncor functions today,” says Tim Hein, director strategic sourcing and procurement at Oncor and co-developer of this year’s case. “We also wanted students to consider the changes in technology, renewable energy and energy storage and  recommend a long term strategy that takes into account these challenges and significant changes occurring in the electric utility industry.” The Oncor Case Competition was held at Oncor’s corporate headquarters in Dallas. As part of the competition, the students were greeted by Oncor’s senior executives, as well as given a tour of the facilities.

“We really hope the competition is something that sparks students’ interest,” says Hein. “We hope it motivates them to take advantage of getting an MBA to be able to answer these kinds of questions in the future. We’re really excited about it.”

Below are takeaways and insights from some of the participating students: 

"It was terrifying until we got in there! I am so proud of how our team came together. I walked away feeling like every person on our team delivered their best when it counted most. This was a great experience." —Cariel Apodaca

"It was incredible to see how much our team grew over just one day of preparation on our presentation. We watched each other practice and gave positive feedback, and each person just got better." —Barbara McNealy

"This was much needed! I have not had an experience like this before, and it helped me get over the fear of presenting." —Stephen Arbuckle

"If I had to use one word to describe the energy in the room today it would be "excitement." The experience showed me the power of the TCU network and connected our class with the Graduate Career Center and potential employers." —Chelsea Franklin

"This was an eye-opening experience that will provide a lot of value over the next two years." —Chris Metz

"This was a great opportunity to pitch to executives! Going through the process of coming up with a recommendation and then being able to sell it was invaluable." —Casey Schuler (winning team)

"This really helped me to be more prepared for the MBA classes we will begin on Monday. We learned that everyone on our team has something to contribute. We appreciated Oncor's hospitality and the opportunity to learn about an industry that was unfamiliar to many of us." —Vivek Soni

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