2 MN Students Advance to "Retail Challenge" Championship

Charles Du and Duncan Hurrelbrink of Minnetonka High School represent one of five teams that will advance to the championship round in a national math and retail competition.

Two local high school students have advanced to the "grand championship" round of a national math and retail competition-where they'll vie for a $10,000 scholarship and a chance to ring the Nasdaq closing bell.

Charles Du and Duncan Hurrelbrink of Minnetonka High School were among 15 regional competition winners in DemandTec, Inc.'s "Retail Challenge" competition. DemandTec spokeswoman Christine Murad-Haroun on Thursday said that Du and Hurrelbrink together received $5,000 in scholarships toward the college of their choosing for winning the regional competition.

The two Minnesota students represent one of five teams that will advance to the grand championship round, which is sponsored by Richfield-based Best Buy Company, Inc., and will take place in New York City on January 17. The overall winner will receive an additional scholarship prize of $10,000 and an opportunity to ring the Nasdaq closing bell.

The competition includes an online business simulation through which students act as pricing analysts at a major retailer. They choose prices and promotional activities on a week-by-week basis to optimize the virtual retailer's profit. Participants use statistical modeling techniques, including regression and affinity analyses, according to the program's organizers. The students then present their projects to a panel of industry experts who evaluate operational results, teamwork, and presentation techniques.

The overall competition included 520 high school seniors divided into 260 two-person teams. The four finalist teams against which the Minnetonka high schoolers will compete hail from New York, Illinois, and California.

"I'd like to personally congratulate all five semi-final round winning teams and look forward to seeing the students leverage their math and business skills at the grand championship round . . ." Best Buy Director of Community Relations Susan Bass Roberts said in a statement.

In addition to Best Buy, other local program sponsors include Target Corporation, Maurices, and the University of Minnesota Duluth.


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