Carnegie Mellon University

tepper tic

October 01, 2019

Tepper Tech Innovation Challenge 2019: Teams to Showcase Their Product Management Skills

Intuit, proud maker of TurboTax, QuickBooks, and Mint, will sponsor Tepper’s annual MBA case competition which pairs real-world business problems and technological creativity.

When Karan Gupta, an MBA student at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, signed up for last year’s Tepper Tech Innovation Challenge he knew he would get a real sense of working in the Technology industry by participating with his classmates from UNC and competing with teams from other schools.

“Case competitions are extremely valuable and they give insights into different industries,” said Gupta. “You can expect to build an understanding of the world the case competition represents.”

Last year, teams were tasked with rethinking the future of work by presenting a new market application for Sprout, a PC with integrated 2D and 3D capture capabilities, created by lead sponsor HP Inc.

Kathy Liao, an MBA student at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, said she was glad to be exposed to the innovative technology. “It was energizing to dream up ways we could combine the product’s capabilities into new ones that would enable the future of work,” she said.

That made the Tepper Tech Innovation Challenge one of the most memorable experiences of Joe Jiang’s first-year MBA experience. “The case competition not only challenged our business acumen, it also challenged our technological creativity,” said Jiang, studying at the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business.

Organized by Tepper’s Business & Technology club each year, the competition continues to deliver on its promise. “Now in our fifth year, I’m continuously impressed by the high-caliber ideas that come from the teams,” said Timothy Derdenger, Associate Professor of Marketing and Strategy and faculty adviser for the case competition. “Developing useful ideas for emerging technology products is important for business students to consider.”

2018 Tech Innovation Challenge winners

Exploring Product Management

Stressing Product Management, the 2019 Tepper Tech Innovation Challenge will stand out from other case competitions MBA students will participate in this year.

“Every competition I participated in last year revolved around ideation, market sizing, competitive analysis and go-to-market strategy,” said James Peng, a Tepper MBA student and the head of the competition’s organizing committee this year. “While these elements will still be present in this year's competition, we want to explore other areas of product management as well: customer discovery, feature roadmap, wireframing and more.”

This year’s event is sponsored by Intuit, maker of TurboTax, QuickBooks and Mint. Teams will be challenged with developing a product innovation for the company’s global financial platform. “We’re honored to be part of the Tepper Tech Innovation Challenge,” said Ed Brinkman (MBA 2012), Group Marketing Manager at Intuit. “Tepper will bring together top MBA students who represent our world’s bright future. We look forward to seeing how they apply their talent to build innovative solutions that address a critical need for our customers.”

The competition will begin with a virtual kickoff meeting on Sept. 25, 2019. Team registrations will close at 10 p.m. EST on Oct. 3. A qualifying round will be held on Oct. 4-8, and the final, live round of the competition will be held in Pittsburgh at the Tepper Quad on Nov. 15-16, 2019. 

2018 Tech Innovation Challenge Winners

Advice for 2019 Participants

MBA students considering the event should work in an efficient, structured way to maximize the time given for each task, and put together a team with diverse expertise, Gupta said.

“If you have the same five heads in the room – five engineering, five finance – that won’t help,” he said.

Amanat Sidhu, a Tepper MBA student whose team won the competition last year, reflected on her experience. She said, “Participating in TIC taught me how to ideate structurally. Our team was able to come up with an out-of-the-box idea by first identifying the customer and then working backwards by thinking how our offering would add value to their lives.” She also has a piece of advice for teams participating in this year’s addition, “My advice to teams participating this year would be to think to differently and creatively but at the same time remain practical in terms of what is feasible.”