Kyler Barnard, a third-year finance major at Weatherhead who will be graduating this fall, was a member of the first-place team in the Undergraduate Business School Leadership Conference’s competition, Cultivating Your Community, which partnered with Central MA Food Rescue and challenged students to find a way to support the growing challenges of food insecurities.“
I decided to apply because I had a great experience winning the ACG cup a month prior, so I wanted to continue getting involved with case competitions and representing CWRU,” Barnard said.
Undergraduate students from across the country were assigned to teams of five, with 20 teams total participating in the competition. Barnard’s teammates attend Georgetown University, Georgia State University, University of Pennsylvania and University of California, Berkeley, fostering inter-collegiate relationships and bringing a unique and innovative perspective to the project. The case competition challenged students to evaluate the company, determine areas for improvement and develop solutions.
“My team had a three-pronged solution that focused on rebranding, community building, and distribution,” Barnard said. “We rebranded the company with a new logo, name and mission statement, developed events that would build relationships within the communities being served, and organized distribution methods and routes to make processes more efficient.”
Only five teams made it through the first round. The finalists presented to the judges during the last round, and the Barnard’s winning team was selected by Central MA Food Rescue and the panel of judges. The full competition took place over the course of a week.
Although the event was all virtual, Barnard said there were some advantages.
“The key benefit to being virtual is that it made meetings more efficient,” Barnard said. “Our team had students in 3 different times zones, and we were all deep into our midterm weeks. Using zoom provided structure and convenience where we didn’t even have to leave our rooms.”
Barnard said the competition enhanced his teamwork, communication and resiliency skills, and he made new friends during the process.
“I think, especially as an undergraduate, you should always put yourself out there and find new ways to challenge yourself both intellectually and socially,” Barnard said.
Learn more about the undergraduate programs at Weatherhead.