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  In an effort to explore new opportunities in convenience retailing, BP, a global energy provider with a family of well-known brands such as ARCO, ampm, and Castrol, is challenging top MBA schools from around the world.
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BP, among the world's largest convenience store operators, challenges MBAs from eight top international business schools to identify new market opportunities for its stores in a simulated consulting engagement.

The Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California (USC) will host the Second Annual Marshall MBA Global Consulting Challenge on January 29-30 in Los Angeles, the follow-up to last year's inaugural competition with sponsor Cingular Wireless.

BP executives have asked students to analyze their convenient store operations and develop strategies to increase both short and long term profitability. Students compete for a $3,000 award and the honor of holding the Marshall MBA Global Consulting Challenge Cup for a year.

Business schools sending MBA teams are USC, University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, University of California-Berkeley, Yale University, London Business School, University of Pennsylvania and returning champions University of Michigan.

“Each team will present to three panels of judges,” said Randolph Almond of the USC Marshall Management Consulting Club, who are organizing the event

Students will present an analysis of the convenience store industry over the next 3-5 years before a panel of industry experts, said Almond. Then, present specific recommendation to BP senior executives. Lastly, each team will have to explain and defend their approach to their analysis before a panel of professional consultants.

“As in a real consulting engagement, the teams were provided information about the retail industry and convenience store market two to six weeks in advance, as well as materials prepared by BP,” said Almond.

In a further effort to make the competition as much like a real consulting assignment, teams participated in two informational teleconferences, one with a retail expert from The Boston Consulting Group and another with their BP “client.”

All student analyses will be presented to BP's executives for evaluation and possible implementation.
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