Avoiding contests of skill because you see no chance of winning is like committing suicide for having no reason to live. As an MBA student majoring in Corporate finance at Brandeis International Business School, I was fortunate to participate and win the Brandeis International Case Competition as part of an amazing and diverse team, which included Omar Sedky (MBA ’15), Qiushi Yang (MBA ’15) and Case-Solvers Trainer and exchange student, Lorant Horvath.
For me, this was one of the best learning and teamwork experience ever. Personally, having no prior experience in Case competitions, this competition was challenging yet rewarding. I have been studying case studies for almost two years as part of my coursework. However, I found Case Consulting presentation a totally different experience than a usual class set up. Having a short time to crack a case and then presenting meaningful and strategic recommendations is daunting. At this point, I would really like to acknowledge and appreciate the efforts put in by Lorant. Being a winner of numerous Case Competitions and a trainer at Case- Solvers, Lorant gave us crash course on how to approach a case study for analysis as well as how to present the analysis in a strategy implementation framework that is convincing and welcoming to the judges. After the quick training, we did feel the difference and realized the improvement in our approach to a case study.
The day the competition started, we felt confident and positive about the competition. The case was concerning a real time issue faced by a private local company, RISI (www.risiinfo.com). They are an international company with offices on four continents and provide individual client studies and consulting beyond their normal publications. As an information provider for the global forestry industry, RISI faced headwinds in China resulting in losses and hence required management and marketing strategies to turn their losses into profits in the worlds strategically, most important market. As it was a private company, the lack of information was a challenge.
The competition day started early morning at 8 am as our team gathered at the Brandeis Library. We started systematically and kept track of time and progress which helped in getting the best outcome. The division of responsibilities according to our backgrounds and skill sets before the competition even started, helped us focusing on our set tasks rather than working unorganized. This was one of the major reasons of our success helping us overcome the time constraints. Even though keeping good track of time, constant flow of innovative ideas forced us to go overboard the time we imagined to end the preparation. We worked relentlessly for 15 hours and headed home at 1 am. Still left with some final tweaking’s.
With less than six hours of sleep, we had to meet at school at 7 am to finish and prepare our presentation. After finishing the slides for presentation, we had to look for a room to practice our pitch. However, being a busy day for school, we were unable to find any empty meeting room. At noon, we were scheduled to present in front of the judges that included the CEO and CTO of the company as well as the Head of Brandeis MBA program. Our dynamic group worked as a wonder through out the competition and the teamwork was impressive. We helped each other and welcomed constructive criticism that worked to our benefit and resulted in a unanimous decision of “The best case presentation” as viewed by the judges and audience.
It was a privilege to participate as part of an amazing team in one of the most unique and challenging experiences that provided hands on learning opportunity through which we gained a lot from each other individually as well as a team collectively.