Nielsen Case Study Competition 2014

The annual case study competition has helped Nielsen showcase for students how the company uses data and insights.

As part of Nielsen’s (No. 41 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list) commitment to diversity, we value the nationwide relationships we’ve cultivated at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). On the campuses of the Atlanta University Center (a group of four HBCUs in Atlanta), an annual case study competition has helped us showcase for students how we use data and insights to provide our clients with solutions to some of marketers’ biggest challenges, as well as a day in the life of a Nielsen employee. In our second annual competition, four ladies from Spelman College (an all-female HBCU) took home first place.

2016 AUC Case Study Competition winning team from Spelman College.

While the Nielsen AUC recruiting team has gained momentum over the last few years, the team decided host its first case study competition in 2015 to encourage sharp students to consider Nielsen for internships and full-time positions. During this year’s event, student teams used Nielsen data to make a decision about whether a fictitious international food manufacturing company should begin to market and sell its products in the U.S. Student teams also had the opportunity to network with the Nielsen panel of judges, Rick Kassing, client director, Andrew McCaskill, senior vice president, global communications & multicultural marketing, and Jaceta Decuir, client manager.

“Nielsen is an academy employer particularly for students and recent graduates of color, and programs like our AUC recruiting efforts help promote the Nielsen experience to students who may not be as familiar with our brand,” said McCaskill. “Because of Nielsen’s reputation for being an award-winning workplace for Millennials, women and diverse associates and because the AUC and HBCUs in general boast some of the best and brightest talent in the world, the program is mutually beneficial for students and for Nielsen.”

The AUC recruiting team serves as an initial touchpoint with Nielsen for students at these schools as they begin their careers. In partnership with the university recruitment efforts by Nielsen’s talent acquisition team, the AUC team performs various on-site recruiting activities, including interviews, informational sessions and workshops designed to inform students of the various opportunities available to them at the company. The case study competition allows students to interact directly with Nielsen data and senior leaders, which helps them gain a deeper understanding of our measurement capabilities and see Nielsen as an option as they start to look at professional destinations.

Thanks in large part to Nielsen’s African-American employee resource group, SABLE (sustaining active Black leadership and empowerment), the AUC recruiting team has continued to thrive and increase its presence on HBCU campuses. SABLE has a strong presence in Nielsen’s Atlanta office, and the AUC recruiting team has leveraged SABLE’s generous support to assist in interviewing, event activation and other recruiting projects. The collaboration of Atlanta SABLE members has also allowed our recruiting team to expand their recruiting efforts to a wider range of recruiting events like Morehouse College’s Marketing Conclave, an annual networking and skills development conference for undergraduate students. The partnership between ERG and university recruiting exemplifies Nielsen’s collaborative values and shows students all over the country how committed Nielsen is to promoting diversity and inclusion.

“At Nielsen, diversity and inclusion is not measured by whether we meet quotas,” said Angela Talton, Chief Diversity Officer and AUC recruiting champion. “Our goal is to infuse diversity and inclusion into the DNA of the company. By spending time on campus, sharing Nielsen data and insights, creating engaging interactions such as the case competition, we hope potential candidates will get a glimpse of our inclusive work environment and want to learn more. We succeed when these talented diverse students see Nielsen as an attractive option as they take the first step in their careers.”

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Competition summary

At Muddy Waters, our mission is to foster transparency no matter how unpopular it might be. We pride ourselves on the depth and breadth of our analytical research into often-opaque and hard-to-value companies. The Economist is a publication firmly established as one of the world’s most authoritative and influential publications. Editorial independence with a commitment to the facts lies at the heart of the The Economist.

With this spirit in mind, we partnered with The Economist for this MBA Investment Case Study: Investment Challenge. Each school in the competition picked three of their best students to complete the case study. Each team produced a thorough report as well as a 15-minute video explaining their analysis that was posted to The Economists’ Which MBA? site. The presentations were recorded live so the pressure was on.

My colleagues and I at Muddy Waters are the case competition judges and selected the three winners. The People’s Choice prize was awarded to the team that received the most votes from visitors to The Economist website.

First place team received $10,000
Second place received $5,000
Third place received $3,000
People’s Choice received $3,000

Read Carson Block’s feedback to the competing teams.

View the announcement of the winning teams.

Challenge summary

The challenge involves evaluating Zillow’s $3.5 billion acquisition of rival real estate website, Trulia in a stock-only transaction.

More specifically, we are looking for you to answer these key questions about the deal.

• Which company is getting the better deal and why?
• Does the structure of the deal make sense for each company?
• What will the futures likely be for each company on a standalone basis if the transaction fails to close?
• Based on the companies’ present combined market valuations, what assumptions about their future would you have to make in order to buy stock in the combined company?
• What trades, if any, would you recommend around this transaction and why?

The more in-depth and unconventional the answers, the better. Wall Street analysts and the media have already pored over this deal and issued their opinions. We’re looking for something deeper. Please Check the Economist ‘s Which MBA website? Site for frequent updates. Good Luck!

* Update 10/16/2014- Please note the description of the case was updated to indicate this was not a "cash only" transaction rather a "stock only" transaction. While the transcript of the video contains the description "all cash" that is an error. The video has been updated accordingly.

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