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Northeastern University College of Business Administration Takes First and Second in Annual Business Beanpot Competition

Professor’s coaching and leadership drives team to succeed year after year

For the tenth time, Northeastern University College of Business Administration has been awarded first place at the 12th annual B-School Beanpot Case Analysis Competition. This is the fourth time in the multi-university matchup that Northeastern won the top two positions. Led by Ray Kinnunen, Associate Professor of Management at Northeastern, the team proved that hard work and exceptional coaching translates into victory.

“There are many reasons we have been so successful,” said Peggy Fletcher, Associate Dean of the College of Business Administration. “Our students are well prepared academically and have professional experience through co-op. They have already been exposed to a professional atmosphere and know how to present. When they get up in front of an audience, they are able to speak as consultants.”

Ten students – two teams of five – competed against two teams each from Boston University, Boston College, Babson College, Bentley College, Suffolk University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Northeastern students practiced for weeks under the tutelage of Kinnunen, who has led the Northeastern team since the competition was created 12 years ago. Known by his students as “Coach K,” Kinnunen’s leadership and support has been credited as a driving force behind the continuing repetition of the Northeastern team’s winning accomplishments.

“We have demonstrated that we have top students who can compete against students from other applauded universities and win,” said Kinnunen. “We have developed a wonderful tradition of winning which helps our students come psychologically prepared, wanting to continue this tradition.”

Teams battle the clock and each other to develop the best solution to a current business issue during the 12-hour event. Much like the namesake hockey tournament, the B-School Beanpot showcases students’ talents in an intense competition. During the preliminary round, two teams from each school assume the role of consultants and develop proposals to the case. A panel of 12 corporate executives review the written analyses and decide which four teams advance to the final round where the four chosen teams give a presentation to the judges.

“Our success can be attributed to the preparation that we put into this competition which started with Coach K, who spent hours helping us practice and learn,” said team member Cory Renzella. “His goal was to win, and nobody is better at it than him. It was his training, combined with a lot of hard work and willingness to improve, that allowed us to be successful on game day.”

Teammate Amanda O’Brien agreed. “Beanpot is about believing in yourself, your team, the people who offer you advice, and of course Coach K. I look forward to my role as a Beanpot alumna, cheering on future teams and helping them to realize their full potential.”

On April 12, students will compete in the 2008 Northeastern University College of Business Internal Business Case Competition. The initiative, modeled after the Beanpot and developed by Kinnunen, will provide Northeastern students another experience to hone their analytical, critical-thinking and presentation skills by taking their course work from the classroom to a competitive arena.

For more information please contact Samantha Fodrowski at 617-373-5427 or at

About Northeastern

Founded in 1898, Northeastern University is a private research university located in the heart of Boston. Northeastern is a leader in interdisciplinary research, urban engagement, and the integration of classroom learning with real-world experience. The university’s distinctive cooperative education program, where students alternate semesters of full-time study with semesters of paid work in fields relevant to their professional interests and major, is one of the largest and most innovative in the world. The University offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate programs leading to degrees through the doctorate in six undergraduate colleges, eight graduate schools, and two part-time divisions. For more information, please visit

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