Dustin Reese is a case competition pro, and it shows. He was recognized as best presenter at the 2020 National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) Case Competition. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles hosts the event annually in a major city, but this year, because of the pandemic, the contest went virtual.
Teams from top business schools across the country had four weeks to conceive a solution to a complicated problem—delivering a holistic digital customer service experience to a mock client who is particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus. At 65 years old, “Angela” has no underlying conditions but lives with her immunocompromised daughter. Angela is in the market for a new Jeep Grand Cherokee, but visiting a car dealership is not an option. Reese and three teammates designed Painter Motors, an immersive app that handles it all, from browsing inventory to teleconferencing with a sales rep, and from customizing a deal to arranging a no-contact test drive.
One of the app’s snazziest features is the ability to superimpose a car in the buyer’s driveway by holding up the phone. Other impressive components include scheduling car maintenance appointments, accumulating points to apply toward maintenance jobs, and making payments.
Reese’s team, called Stellar Consulting Group, placed second in the competition. But Reese especially wowed the judges with his oration chops—a skill he’s been tweaking since working at Cox Communications in 2012. After he delivered a presentation on his role at the organization, a college recruiter gave Reese some advice he’ll never forget: don’t get too technical, and make the presentation simple enough for everyone to understand.
“I was surprised because the other presentations were super basic and not that great to me. But the college recruiter loved them,” he said. “Over time, I’ve learned to make things more palatable for a general audience.”
Reese applied the same approach to the NBMBAA Case Competition by simplifying his description of concepts and providing key supporting information in the slides.
“That ended up being a really good decision,” Reese said. “The general principles could be applied to any prospective customers beyond the mock client.”
Reese was surprised to receive the best presenter recognition. In fact, he expected his teammate Daniel Ward to snag that honor.
“Before the judges said my name, I literally had typed out ‘Congrats, Daniel!’ on my computer,” Reese laughed.
In addition to public speaking acumen, Reese possesses yet another appealing quality: humility.