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Source: Marne Arthaud-Day, 785-532-6261,
News release prepared by: Nellie Ryan, 785-532-6415,

Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2009


MANHATTAN -- Four students from Kansas State University's College of Business Administration have received $1,000 scholarships in a case competition sponsored by the Target Corporation.

The competition was part of a business strategy course, which is one of two senior capstone courses required for all business majors. About 80 K-State students took part in the competition.

The case challenge was to help Target hit a "home run" with its home furnishings, a sector that is facing multiple threats including fierce competition from stores like Home Depot and Wal-Mart, the economic recession and changes in consumer spending patterns, and a slowdown in the housing market.

Each team of four students was asked to devise a clear home merchandise strategy that included the right mix of core and fashion merchandise at competitive value-driven prices to correspond with Target's slogan, "Expect More. Pay Less."

The winning team proposed that Target expand into interior paint sales to complement its existing home furnishings line. Team members included Katrina Cotter, senior in marketing, Goodland; Nathan Kohake, senior in finance, Seneca; Sarah Kuhlmann, senior in marketing and management, Shawnee; and Carson Coffman, senior in marketing, Peculiar, Mo. The students each received a $1,000 scholarship for the win.

The funds were awarded through the Target Campus Grants program. Each regional campus recruiter for Target may select one university per semester to participate in the grant program, which involves setting up a competitive case competition centered around a real-life business dilemma faced by Target's management.

Target staff from both local and regional offices traveled to the K-State campus three times over the course of the fall 2009 semester to meet with the students, first to introduce the case, then for a formal question-and-answer session, and last to evaluate presentations from the top five finalist teams to select the overall winner.

Research for the project started in September 2009 and continued throughout the semester, culminating in a final 12-minute group presentation and a 15-page strategic plan paper in early December. Finalists were selected by a panel of judges including Marne Arthaud-Day, assistant professor of management at K-State, and second-year K-State master of business administration students. Five Target staff members judged the finalists to determine the overall winner.