Many MBA students look forward to participating in case competitions where they have the opportunity to apply lessons they have learned in the classroom to real-world business challenges. The pandemic, however, led to the cancellation of in-person competitions, which give students the chance to network with peers, faculty, and employers. When social distancing rules relaxed this past spring, Scheller College MBA students jumped at the chance to participate in the 2022 Race and Case Competition. Tiffany Cho (MBA 2022), who was in her second-year of the Full-time MBA Program at the time of the competition, said, “It was our team’s first-ever in-person case competition, and we are really glad to have had this opportunity as it turned out to be a fantastic learning experience and a lot of fun.”
The competition was held February 24-27 at the University of Denver Daniels College of Business and Breckenridge Ski Resort. In addition to Cho, the team included three students from the Full-time MBA Program: second-year students Ellie Hamalian (MBA 2022) and Kyle Winkler (MBA 2022), and first-year student Josh Dirks.
In the business case portion of the competition, teams were tasked with creating a strategy for a Chinese athleisure apparel company to enter the U.S market while utilizing emerging metaverse technology and doing so in a socially responsible manner. The business case accounted for 90% of the overall score. This unique case competition also included a ski/snowboard race portion that counted for 10% of the team’s overall score.
Other universities represented at the competition included University of Alabama (first prize), University of Florida (second prize), and Auburn University (third prize).
Following the competition, Cho and Winkler reflected on the overall experience and lessons learned. They agreed that Scheller had prepared them well to accomplish the business case portion of the competition. They said that being part of the Strategic Brand Management class, taught by Aaron Hackett, gave them a good foundation to brainstorm for market entry ideas and strategies. Additionally, while preparing for consulting interviews, both Cho and Winkler had come across numerous market entry cases, which gave them a leg-up as the competition’s overall approach was similar.
Teams were required to include marketing, ethical, financial, cultural, and research perspectives in their presentations. Cho said that despite the challenge of time constraints, “It was very interesting to apply my classroom learning to a real-life scenario.” She said that the judges seemed pleased with her team’s presentation, slides, and innovative ideas.
Winkler reflected on the alpine portion of the competition: “I have taken several ski trips throughout my life and consider myself an intermediate-level skier. It was a lot of fun to test my skills in an actual race format, and the University of Denver staff did a great job putting everything together!” Teammate Dirks won the ski race portion, recording the fastest time of all competitors.
Kyle Winkler, Josh Dirks, and Tiffany Cho participated in the alpine portion of the Race and Case competition.
Cho remarked, “It was a great experience for us to meet with other MBA teams, present our strategic plan to the judges, and participate in the ski race.” Even though the team, which came in fifth place, did not receive a prize, Cho said, “We are still very proud of the effort we gave and thankful for all we learned in the process.”
The Scheller team was supported by the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business, the Cecil B. Day Program for Business Ethics, the MBA Graduate Programs Office, and the Net Impact at Scheller College of Business – MBA Chapter.
Written by Jennifer Holley Lux