Said Business School came out on top in the WBS International Healthcare Case Competition sponsored by leading healthcare solutions provider GE Healthcare and technology giant IBM.

The Oxford University team of Sindhura Varanasi, Grace Lam, Yen Nguyen and Marco Pimentel walked away with £4,000 after a panel of judges decided their business plan was the best.

With industry experts from GE Healthcare and IBM on the panel, the 12 teams from business schools across Europe had to recommend a scalable business model for a big data clinical neuroscience platform.

With the World Health Organisation reporting that neurological disorders are one of the biggest threats to public health, finding a solution that prevents the problem from becoming unmanageable is an important challenge that the healthcare industry is currently grappling with. Collectively, neurological conditions are estimated to affect up to one billion people worldwide.

“How the healthcare industry can leverage Big Data to improve outcomes is a very relevant problem,” said Marc Barlow, of GE Healthcare, a subsidiary of US conglomerate General Electric. “There were some superb insights and perspectives given to this emerging area and it has certainly given us some food for thought.

“GE healthcare has a long association with Warwick University and we are proud to be part of the Warwick Healthcare Partnership, we were very pleased to be part of the competition.”

Peter Ward, of IBM, said: “It was a pleasure to see how much IBM's support was appreciated. We've been building our relationship with Warwick Business School over several years. Having the opportunity to engage in this way can only enhance our overall relationship.”

Teams from Aston Business School, Cranfield School of Management, ESADE (Spain), HEC Paris (France), IE Business School (Spain), Lancaster University Management School, who won the inaugural competition last year, Manchester Business School, Mannheim Business School (Germany), SDA Bocconi School of Management (Italy), University of Nottingham, Said Business School and Warwick Business School were given an information pack 10 days before the competition.

On the day of the competition they then received another pack, before pitching to the judges in the semi-finals. Mannheim Business School, ESADE and Said Business School went through to the final where they were given a final set of instructions.

Warwick MBA student Shruti Royyuru, 25, of Hyderabad, India, one of the competition organisers, said: “The competition was intense and all the teams presented really interesting and varied business proposals. It went really well and it was a great chance to network with other business schools and industry professionals.

“Our case competition looked to shine a spotlight on the challenges facing the healthcare industry and I think some really enterprising ideas were debated, while students had a great insight into the opportunities within this growing sector. Congratulations to Said Business School for winning and thank you to all the teams for making it such an enjoyable day.”

The healthcare sector offered the highest number of future positions for MBAs in 2011 according to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).

Debbie Stocker, Director of Stocker Partnership Ltd who wrote the detailed challenge, said: “Big data solutions to global health challenges and the disruptive nature of the business models these require are an extremely current focus in the healthcare industry today. Enterprises of all sizes are grappling with demanding technological, regulatory and market challenges. Reaching customers and generating revenue is key.

“Said and the University of Oxford had a great team with combined experience in medicine, pharmaceuticals, neuroscience and computer science. Together, they were able to answer all the judges’ questions with persuasive reasoning and supporting evidence. It was a fantastic event, with lots of interesting debates and insightful ideas.”

WBS Professor of Practice John Lyon, who was global vice president of US drug development company Covance and has vast experience of the healthcare industry, opened the event and welcomed the teams.

Warwick MBA student and competition organiser Corinne Montefort, 26, of Malta, said: “The competition was a great success. Thank you so much to our sponsors GE Healthcare and IBM and everybody who helped organise the event, which was full of fascinating and inspiring ideas. Finally, well done to Oxford on winning.”