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UAlbany MBA Team Wins a Top Prize in Price Chopper Innovation Challenge

June 22, 2009

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From left, Mark Chandler, Linda Krzykowski, Andy Cuthbert, Mark Adams, James McGaughan, and Jerry Golub.

From left, Golub Corp. VP Supply Chain Integration Mark Chandler, School of Business Vice Dean Linda Krzykowski, Andy Cuthbert, Mark Adams, James McGaughan, and Golub Corp. Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Jerry Golub.

Technological leaps in recent years have brought both an ability to increase productivity as well as longer working days for many of us. Simple trips to the grocery store can often be a test for the time-constrained U.S. consumer. UAlbany School of Business students Andrew Cuthbert, Mark Adams, and James McGaughan developed a novel way for shoppers to improve their grocery-store experience. The team won a top prize in the Price Chopper Innovation Challenge with an idea to help customers build their grocery lists online.

"Our Ultimate Innovation idea really started out as just a passing comment I made to Mark in a class one day," said Cuthbert, of Auburn N.Y. "What began with a small abstract ended up with the opportunity to present our idea to the Executive Board of the Golub Corp." For the three MBA candidates, Cuthbert, Adams of Clifton Park, N.Y., and McGaughan of Glenmont, N.Y., this represented a rare opportunity.

From left, Linda Krzykowski, Mark Adams, James McGaughan, and Andy Cuthbert (standing).

From left, Linda Krzykowski, Mark Adams, James McGaughan, and Andy Cuthbert (standing). 

The UAlbany team was among the top award winners from among 40 entries, earning $4,000 for the students and $1,000 for the School. Their idea was to allow customers to print out their grocery lists at a store kiosk. The kiosk would automatically generate coupons as well as map the list, identifying the correct aisle for each item listed. A future innovation includes an application for mobile phone users.

"The Price Chopper Innovation Challenge allows us to achieve two very important goals," said Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Jerry Golub. "The contest is a natural extension of our desire to encourage innovation by using real-life business challenges, as well as providing a meaningful way for college students to become acquainted with our business and the potential career opportunities that are available here."

Seven prizes were awarded overall four at the $5,000 level and three at the $3,000 level.

School of Business Vice Dean for Administration Linda M. Krzykowski, faculty adviser to the team, said, "The Price Chopper Innovation Challenge helps our students test their business acumen in the real world. It allows them to take their creative ideas and then apply all the business frameworks and concepts we teach in the MBA program."

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