DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > Public relations students earn 2nd place in global Page Case Study Competition

Public relations students earn 2nd place in global Page Case Study Competition

Students, judges and Professor Matt Ragas pose for a group photo
Students in Matt Ragas's Business Skills for Strategic Communicators course presented their final projects to a panel of Chicago communications professionals (Photo courtesy of Matt Ragas)
Three DePaul graduate students have received international recognition for their work in the 2024 Jack Koten Page Principles Case Study Competition. 

The competition, hosted by the Arthur W. Page Society and the Institute for Public Relations, recognizes students whose work provides meaningful insights on corporate communication and expands the profession’s existing knowledge base. 

DePaul’s team consisted of public relations and advertising students Jarriae Anderson, Valeria Ruiz and 2023 graduate Marina Rutter. Their case, “Adidas says BYE: Adidas drops partnership with YE,” earned 2nd place in the competition, which drew 39 entries from 19 institutions across the United States, China, Indonesia and the Philippines. This year's grand prize team was from the University of Florida. 

Jarriae Anderson, Valeria Ruiz and Marina Rutter
Jarriae Anderson, Valeria Ruiz and Marina Rutter present their case study
The DePaul case study examined Adidas’s long-term partnership with Kanye West, which ended in October 2022 after West made multiple antisemitic comments. The team analyzed Adidas’s handling of the situation through an environmental, social and governance lens. 

“The main thing we focused on was the risk associated with celebrity spokespeople,” Anderson says. “If that spokesperson is conflicting with your stated brand values, what are the steps you can take to salvage your image? It's really a crisis communication situation.”

Anderson, Ruiz and Rutter, alongside their classmate Maureen “Mo” Fagan, developed the case study during winter quarter 2023 as a final project for the Business Skills for Strategic Communicators seminar taught by Matt Ragas. 

“One thing I think we like to do in the college, and I certainly like to do with my classes, is try to have final projects and assignments that can go beyond the walls of the classroom,” says Ragas, a public relations and advertising professor in the College of Communication. 

For their final projects, students in Ragas’s seminar present their case studies to a panel of Chicago communications leaders. The panel provides the students with feedback and ultimately selects a winner. Once the course is over, students can choose to revise and submit their projects to the Page Case Study Competition. 

Ragas believes that this structure adds a layer of friendly competition to the course which builds community and motivates students to work harder. Anderson agrees. 

“It definitely made me want to prove myself a lot more,” Anderson says. “I was just a first-year graduate student with no experience. To prove myself in this way was really helpful because it gave me a boost of confidence. Even though I didn't have the experience, that didn't mean I didn't have the skills to be successful.” 

Under Ragas’s guidance, DePaul students have performed exceptionally at the Page Case Competition since first competing in 2014. In the 10 years since, DePaul has won the grand prize three times and placed 13 times. 

For Ragas, having students participate in the competition is about more than accolades, however. 

“This competition is not just about the networking and the skills,” Ragas says. “It’s about helping to build the confidence of young people, of young professionals. It's about giving you the confidence and perspective to show you how great you can be.”