Monday, November 7, 2011 Nicholas Center Blog
Nicholas Team Presentation to Best Buy by Ken Wooddell

One of the benefits of being a second-year Nicholas Center student is the opportunity to work on the applied corporate finance consulting projects. The projects are an excellent opportunity for us to build upon the skills we have developed in the program while applying them to real-world settings. Unlike traditional classroom exercises, the challenges we face are often ones management teams are struggling with themselves and central to that company's strategic vision. Not only is there not a clear "correct" answer, but the recommendations we present are frequently relied upon to influence key management decisions.

This fall, I was fortunate enough to work on a project for one of the center's most esteemed contributors, Best Buy. Projects were assigned to teams from the moment we arrived back on campus and only a few short weeks before the first round of presentations at the annual board meetings. The tight deadlines made for some long sessions, but were well worth it as it allowed us to audition our presentations to our very diverse and accomplished board of advisors. The feedback we received from the Board was positive and opened our eyes to a number of approaches and suggestions we had not yet considered. Looking back, it would be hard to imagine presenting our initial draft to Best Buy without their input.

Best Buy

(l. to r.) Aaron Walsh, Spencer Morse, Professor Seward, Canan Ozkan, and Ken Wooddell

Although the Board presentation marked a major milestone, our work was far from over. We continued to revisit our analysis and refine the presentation over the next couple of weeks before eventually driving to Minneapolis to present our final recommendations to the client.

Arriving at Best Buy was an exciting moment for all of us. We were welcomed by Nicholas Center Board Member and Best Buy Assistant Controller, United States and International, Kirk Geadelmann, as well as a number of Nicholas Center alums. Kirk had worked with us throughout the project and this represented our first opportunity to present our recommendations to him and his team in person. Once again, our presentation was well-received and led to some interesting discussion and insights from members of the audience. Overall, the Best Buy project was an excellent experience from beginning to end. I look forward to future projects and can only hope they turn out as well as this one.

Thanks again to Kirk and Professor Seward for allowing this project to happen.