At FEMBA Council last month, someone told me of a success story about Nick Salameh, FEMBA 2016, who had entered three case competitions his first year, and won in two. I reached out to Nick to learn the full story.
Dylan: Well Nick, this is quite an accomplishment, three case competitions in your first two quarters. Tell our readers about yourself, and the competitions.
Nick: Great. I’m a FEMBA 2016 currently living in San Diego. I graduated from SDSU (Go Aztecs!) in 2011 with major in finance and I work as a commercial credit analyst at California Bank & Trust where I am responsible for underwriting commercial loans to middle market corporations and commercial real estate investors ranging in size from $1 million to $10 million+. You may be able to confirm this, but I think I might be the youngest member of FEMBA 2016 (I turned 25 this year).
Dylan: We never evaluate age Nick, only experience; you are wise beyond your years. We’re glad you’re in the Class of 2016. Tell us more.
Nick: Here at Anderson I am pursuing a career shift into either Management Consulting or Investment Banking (still torn) and was recently selected as the VP of FEMBA Relations for the Management Consulting Association.
I have been so impressed by every aspect of Anderson thus far and get excited every time I think about school and the future. I am very competitive and this drives me to do well in all aspects of my life, and I feel that Anderson has been able to provide me with the level of challenge I was looking for to push my boundaries.
I have had such a great experience thus far and have done my best to take advantage of all of Anderson’s resources and have already made some great friends and memories (FEMBA Vegas trip…). I cannot wait to make even more friends and participate in other aspects of Anderson such as the international studies courses, OCR [on-campus recruiting], and more social events.
The Joint Venture Challenge was a real estate case competition where I was randomly paired with a Law student and a full time MBA student. It lasted about a month and in total I probably contributed 40+ hours of work. It was very analytical and there was a lot of case material to read through. I never actually met my two teammates as I live in San Diego and they are both not on campus on weekends, but we made it work surprisingly well and I’m even kind of friends with the law student now (Still haven’t met the guy but we are supposed to grab a beer next quarter).
In total I spent about 6 hours on the phone with my two team mates (3 total calls). In this particular case, there was a lot that could be divided since all three of us had a fairly strong background/understanding of the material related to the case. The final deliverable was a 10 page write up addressing the 14 legal and business questions provided in the case. We did not actually have to present our answers in person. I learned a significant amount about Private Equity Real Estate Funds from this experience which I feel will help me in my future real estate endeavors both personally and professionally. Also great networking opportunity.
The NFL Digital Media Challenge was my least favorite case, although I feel it could have been my favorite. I formed a team randomly when someone posted on Facebook, and the case was extremely quick. In total, we had 5 days. My group of 4 met via Google hangout twice and met once for an entire Sunday (about 7 hours). In total I put in about 15 hours. The direction that my team decided to pursue was one that I was very much against, especially since I felt very confident in my idea (I know… bias right?).
Although I was impressed with our final product I was fairly confident that we would not be selected for the final round, and we were not. We would have gotten to present on the NFL Network stage if we had made it to the final round. There were 6 teams that made it to the finals from 4 schools. Overall it was still a good experience that took me out of my comfort zone. Also it was cool simply because I’m a huge NFL fan.
The Net Impact Consulting Challenge lasted about a month and I formed a team with the two classmates that I carpool up with each week (Nadine Martini and Victoria Verstegen) and another woman in our section from Huntington (Katie Kroeger-Davis). Our team was extremely strong as a result of our diverse backgrounds that paired well with our assigned non-profit organization. In addition, the dedication and buy-in of our assigned organization, Worksite Wellness LA (WWLA), was paramount to our success.
This case required a lot of hours. I drove up to LA from San Diego for the Kick-Off event (a 3 hour meet and work session with WWLA) on a Wednesday night, we met with WWLA one night after class in LA until 11pm, we spent several hours conferencing with Worksite Wellness LA, and we countless hours working as a team. Not including the actual case presentation day I personally spent close to 50 hours.
We collected a ton of data and really discovered what WWLA wanted and needed and ultimately were able to deliver a very comprehensive and implementable set of recommendations along with the necessary tools to achieve their goals. We presented twice on the final day of the case which was on a Sunday. The 19 teams were broken into 5 rooms to present during the first round with one team from each room making it to the final round.
We presented in the first round to two judges and a handful of students from other teams, and then again in the finals to seven judges and the other 18 teams (this was more nerve racking than anticipated). I was very pleased with our performance relative to other teams and in general. I truly felt that we were able to help WWLA in a way that no one previously had. This was a very gratifying experience.
Dylan: Well Nick, I appreciate your effort, your results, and the time you took to summarize it for the blog. Congrats to you Nick. Based on this, I’m going to do a follow-up story on your team overall for Net Impact, I want to hear from Nadine, Victoria and Katie), plus the other NI FEMBA team who won second-place. FEMBAs represented very well at NI this year.