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Communications and Marketing

International winner

Alumna Whitney Hales ’11 won first place in The Economist’s MBA case study competition evaluating Zillow’s $3.5 billion acquisition of its rival real-estate website, Trulia.

Hales and two teammates from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS) concluded Zillow investors should sell. The judges deemed their 31-page report and 15-minute video the best among the 24 international MBA teams competing. 

“Winning The Economist competition is a great accomplishment for both my team and for the Institute,” Hales said. “It was a thrill just to compete with some of the best MBA programs in the world. Though we knew our submission was very strong, winning was a great honor.”

Each MBA school selected its top three students to compete. Hales, who graduated from MIIS with a joint MBA/MA in international environmental policy, said her experience at Lake Forest College majoring in politics and environmental studies played a big part in this success. 

“Two of the most important skills I mastered at Lake Forest College were research and writing,” Hales said. Honing those skills began in her first-year writing course with Associate Professor of English Benjamin Goluboff and continued through countless research papers in the politics department and her environmental studies senior seminar with James S. Kemper Foundation Professor of Liberal Arts and Business Jeffrey Sundberg.

Those skills helped Hales clinch The Economist MBA Case Study competition. “I believe it was the depth and thoroughness of our research, as well as our crisp and excellently written analysis, that led to our winning submission,” she said.

Click here to read The Economist article and view the winning entries.