Values and data take center stage for futbol-focused case competition

  • February 26, 2024
  • By Kurt Greenbaum
  • 3 minute read

A farmers’ market on the soccer pitch. Leaning hard into player development leagues. Robust relationships with European soccer teams. Mixed-use development near the stadium.

These were among the proposals students shared in a recent case competition staged by WashU Olin and featuring St. Louis City SC—the region’s Major League Soccer club.

Thirty-eight students from across the WashU campus and as far away as Washington, DC, Indiana and Georgia gathered on February 12 for a first-of-its-kind case competition sponsored by Olin’s Koch Center for Family Enterprise and the city’s soccer club—with $24,000 on the line.

The event had begun months ago with submissions from 35 teams, 28 of which advanced to the semifinals, and 10 came to campus for pitch their recommendations in person—five graduate student teams and five undergraduate teams.

“I hope you feel excited about being here,” said Peter Boumgarden, professor of practice in family enterprise and the center’s director. “You submitted amazing ideas that we're excited to see.”

The student teams were challenged to analyze St. Louis City SC’s books, examine the opportunities and offer recommendations fulfilling this prompt: How should the Taylor family—the team’s owners—and the team allocate resources in the next five years to best balance performance on the pitch, financial return on investment and development of the broader region, both culturally and economically?

A range of community issues

Recommendations from the student teams ranged from ideas focused on tackling homelessness in the city to building pitches around the St. Louis region to attract young players and fans on game days.

The winning undergraduate team—dubbed “Arch Consulting”—cited numbers placing St. Louis last out of 55 cities in terms of recovery from the pandemic. The answer, they suggested: a community lending program to stimulate investment by entrepreneurs in the economy within the vicinity of CITY Park, the team’s pitch. In-stadium events such as a farmers’ market during off days.

“We are thrilled to partner with WashU. Thanks to all the students,” Peter Thein, COO of the soccer club, told students after the event. “This is part of our mission of the club: To be engaged with the community. Hopefully, this was interesting to everyone, and I know this event was a side hustle for everybody.”

Judges for the event included Thein, Boumgarden, WashU Chancellor Andrew Martin; John Thee, president of the Taylor Family Office; Jennifer Wintzer, program manager for the Koch Center for Family Enterprise); and Olin Dean Mike Mazzeo.

The event culminated with a visit to CITY Park, where team leaders toured the stadium with the students and recognized the winners in the case competition.

Winning undergraduate teams

  • First, Arch Consulting, $5,000: Emilia de Jounge, Rahul Chavali, Arman Patel and Bell Riley—all from WashU.
  • Second, Emory Goizueta, $2,500: Yashonandan Kakrania, Konik Mitra, Hemansi Agarwal and Jillian Wu—all from Emory Goizueta Business School.
  • Third, KAMI, $1,500: Kevin Chen, Avery Seo and Issace Herrera—all from WashU.

Winning graduate student teams

  • First, Monte Carlo, $7,500: Aarushee Agrawal and Amatya Agarwal from WashU.
  • Second, EMBA 58 Pitch Profit Pros, $5,000: Erin Nazetta, Cyndee England, Eric Ricker and Carrie Hanichak, all from WashU.
  • Third, WashU MBA in Futbol, $2,500: Felipe Zwanzger, Nathan Wild, Drew Piontek and Ryan Bowman, all from WashU.

All photos: Credit, Jerry Naunheim 

About the Author

Kurt Greenbaum

Kurt Greenbaum

As communications director for WashU Olin Business School, my job is to find and share great stories about our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. I've worked for the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management as communications director and as a journalist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sun-Sentinel in South Florida and the Chicago Tribune.

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