Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Case Competition Results and Reflection

Friday morning I arrived at school with nervous energy and positive thoughts. My team, Canyon Curves Consulting, was competing in the Values-Centered Leadership Lab Case Competition. This is an ethics-focused case competition. You are given 2 hours to read the case, analyze it, form a recommendation and create a presentation. Then, you present for a panel of judges for 20 minutes, followed by 10 minutes of Q&A. The judges are looking at 3 brackets of 3 teams, one winner from each bracket moves on to the finals.

Our team consisted of Sean Gray, Noreen Okarter, Jeff Kraft, and myself. We each brought different skills to the table. In preparation for the event, we had done a lot of research on the process of case competition problem-solving. Our case, about Dannon Yogurt, dealt with Corporate Social Responsibility issues in marketing. As we had prepared before the event, we had allocated time to certain things.

That all went out the window. It took much longer to read the 27 page case than expected, almost 40 minutes of our 2 hours. Then, when we went to organize it, there was some disagreement as to which direction to go with the recommendations. As time ate away, our dream of a practice run quickly evaporated.

In the first round, we were crunched for time, not giving Noreen enough time to finish her section on risk analysis. After the questions, we weren't even sure if we made it through the first round. Waiting for the results seemed to take FOREVER. But we had won our bracket and were moving on to the money round.

We had 30 minutes to adjust the judges issues and make some changes. The questions were an amazing guideline for the process, and, as another team divulged, by having easy judges in round one, they were at a disadvantage going into the final round.

We felt much better after our second presentation, despite having very difficult questions thrown at us. This is a very difficult section of the competition and one that most teams don't practice for. Thinking on your feet and understanding what information you had to leave out of your presentation, these two skills allow you to excel during the Q&A. And that part is judged!

In the end, we came in second to a team of 2nd year students who competed last year and came in second place. It was actually a result we were anticipating, so in our hearts, it felt like a complete win. I would recommend this experience not only to people interested in consulting, but to anyone who expects to make managerial decisions. Thinking on your feet, presentation skills, and problem-solving are as critical as it comes for MBA students. I was ecstatic to be a part of this and look forward to competing with my other team at Baylor University next week. The format of that case competition is very different and I'm sure I'll have additional reflections on that one.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing your experience Hannah. Our team had the same troubles. I would say you were better for real. We will learn from ours and your a experience as well. Thank you for that opportunity. By the way, I deeply believe that your team performed better than 2nd year students' one.( In case anybody else reads this -Don't take my words as insulting ones. It is my personal opinion where I am saying that all the winners performed great.) I wish you good luck and feel passionate about competition in 2011. Boleslav.