Four years ago, UCF finance major Courtney Wood was playing basketball with her dad when he went into sudden cardiac arrest. He survived and now wears an Implantable Cardiac Device (ICD) to monitor his heart. That terrifying moment would inspire his daughter to come up with the winning idea for the Great Capstone Case Competition, recently held at the UCF College of Business Administration.

“The entire case was dedicated to my dad,” said Wood, who with her Team Zenith teammates beat out nearly 180 student teams to take home the top business plan prize. “I am so thankful for my dad’s ICD but I also realize the data technology could use improvement.”

Woods and fellow UCF business students Gianluca Ceci (Accounting), Shawn Davidson (Finance), Kyle Davis (Marketing) and Daniela Weisz (Marketing) pitched their idea of a mobile network to monitor cardiac patients to a panel of judges from Verizon, which sponsored the spring semester contest. Team Zenith recommended Verizon provide its network to patients with an ICD to enable 24/7 real-time monitoring for patients with certain heart conditions. The patient would wear a band similar to a FitBit that would transmit data to the cardiologist’s office.

“I could not be prouder of the work we accomplished…we know it will be a moment we will never forget,” Wood said.

This spring semester more than 900 students working in small teams developed business plans for a specific issue facing Verizon. These plans were reviewed first by faculty, and then the field was narrowed to 40 teams that compete in the presentation competition.

“No other university in the country has anything quite like this,” said Dr. Marshall Schminke, BB&T Professor of Business Ethics. “It was the most challenging competition yet, and we are so proud to be able to put our best students in front of one of our best business partners.  It’s a great event, and these teams topped it off in amazing fashion.”

The teams pitched their plans to judges from industry and faculty with the top five teams competing in the finals. Each semester the competition is the lab portion of the Strategic Management (MAN 4720 – Capstone) class, where students apply all they have learned in the College of Business Administration to execute the project.

Representatives from Verizon served as judges along with College of Business Administration faculty members and select students from the Executive MBA (EMBA) programs.

“Verizon continues to give back to the community where we live and work.  We are thrilled to have great educational institutions in the Orlando area to collaborate with in helping students learn about business. One of those institutions–the UCF College of Business—gives us the ability to recruit UCF alumni and new graduates and has been a key part of developing the Verizon finance facility.  We are counting on this continuous pipeline of talent for our ongoing success,” said Monty W. Garrett, senior vice president – accounting, Verizon. “We were thrilled at the opportunity to sponsor the 2016 Capstone Case Competition and work directly with the students in their development of business cases related to the Internet of Things.  The students’ engagement, creativity of ideas and preparation of their business cases have exceeded all of our expectations.”