April 22nd, 2017

 

The 2nd Annual Greater Houston Consulting Case Competition took place on the campus of the University of Houston in the Classroom and Business Building at the C. T. Bauer College of Business.

The participating institutions were the Consulting Club at the Texas Medical Center (CC@TMC), the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University, and the C.T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston. The CC@TMC the participants came from a number of the member institutions, including UT Health, Baylor College of Medicine, MD Anderson, and Rice University. 

The case centered around Amazon’s diverse portfolio of services and products including book, smart devices, online content, online retailing and advertising, and Amazon Web Services (AWS). The competitors were asked to devise a strategy that would allow Amazon to improve its near-term profitability while continuing its long-term disruption of its fellow tech giants.

 The case was designed to help students devise strategy in a highly successful and diversified business whose profits do not yet scale with its revenues. The case also allowed for a discussion of how to build a long-term vision for a company, and how to choose the best portfolio of businesses. It also tested the students’ breadth of creativity in a situation that contained numerous possible directions.

The winning team was composed of Wendy Hu (Rice post-doctoral fellow), Jonathan Gallion (Baylor College of Medicine pre-doctoral candidate), Sunil Acharya (MD Anderson GSBS pre-doctoral candidate), and Ronnie Mathew (Jones College of Business at Rice). They were awarded a combined total of $500, and added a valuable component to their consulting resumé.

  • Goods, loans, and services are increasingly being exchanged via delocalized peer-to-peer sales via specialized apps and websites; this sales mode is predicted to represent 50% of the market by 2025. The fractured state of the peer-to-peer market in the United States offers a significant opportunity for Amazon to offer users a centralized, reliable, and trustworthy marketplace for all peer-to-peer exchanges. We propose a two tier implementation to 1) Amazon Prime Business: innovate and restructure the current services offered by Amazon to attract, grow, and support small and individual run businesses, and 2) Amazon Peer: launch a subdomain of Amazon Marketplace as a hub of peer-to-peer sales. 
  • 1) Amazon Prime Business will cultivate individual-run business from startup to distribution using an all-inclusive Amazon pipeline including: Amazon crowd-sourced start-up funding, Amazon Business for supplies, Amazon Web Services for cloud based financials and web domain hosting, and finally utilizing the Amazon Handmade marketplace for sales and distribution. This pipeline will build an Amazon-branded ecosystem for small businesses while enabling Amazon to capitalize on synergies between its existing business divisions.
  • 2) Amazon Peer will capitalize on the fragmented and outdated peer-to-peer websites currently offered in the United States and offer a centralized location for users to exchange goods and services. A separate sub-domain website will ensure brand protection for the Amazon Marketplace while offering users a reliable and convenient platform to conduct their sales. 
  • Implementing this two tier approach would position Amazon as the leader of P2P sales within the US and enable a continued focus “to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” The changing face of online commerce to a centralized P2P marketplace requires Amazon to adapt and capitalize early in order to remain a market leader.

The networking mixer was held down the street from Bauer College of Business, at Calhoun’s rooftop bar. Food and drink were served to our competitors, judges, and spectators. All those that attended the competition were able to mingle with judges while enjoying the beautiful weather. A few high energy attendees stuck around until past 8PM to glean some wisdom and insight from our judges.

Thank you so much to our sponsors! This event would not have been possible without your help and support!