Case Competition

[img_assist|nid=750|title=|desc=Organizers, Kyle Harrison, Louise Brunet and Anne Fortin.|link=none|align=left|width=486|height=640]During the first week of winter semester classes, every available student in the MBA program was being put to work. They were rolling posters, making phone calls, updating databases and packing boxes. Some professors were trying to reschedule the next week’s class because, after all, their classrooms would be empty. Conversations overheard in the halls were peppered with words like “vitamins”, “sleep”, and “relaxation techniques”. Although not standard business buzzwords, they were prevalent all that week.
Why was the MBA turned upside down? The first ever International MBA Case Competition was one week away. Business schools from Sweden, England, the United States, and New Zealand would be flying in to compete with the Canadian teams. The controlled chaos of last minute preparations continued right up until the opening ceremonies. On Tuesday the 14th of January, everyone was…
For the organizers, Case Comp started long before January 14th… Case Comp had a life of its own that took over our lives little by little until we existed in a vacuum, seeing only judges, sponsors, and schools, dreaming only of judges, sponsors, and schools, and as any of our friends will attest, speaking only of judges, sponsors, and schools. Here is a quick peek at what that vacuum looked like, from the inside.
Rewind 7 months: The summer term was just starting as we faced the task of Case Comp. We were told an international event may not be feasible – would we get any foreign schools? Would we find a hotel in town with the capacity for a larger event? And of course the big question – how could we raise 25% more sponsorship funds during a recession?
As the summer progressed we learned many things: How NOT to do a mail merge in Wordperfect, how easy it is to forget about class, how desperate the hotel industry really is, and how wonderful it is to while away summer days inside the GM building.
By September we were really cooking; money was coming in, schools were responding to our queries and we had made it through the summer without failing anything. Dr. Patterson was relieved. We were buzzed.
[img_assist|nid=751|title=|desc=First Place goes to the Kiwis (Otago University of New Zealand).|link=none|align=left|width=313|height=264][img_assist|nid=752|title=|desc=Second place goes to Georgetown University team.|link=none|align=left|width=260|height=264]
Forward-fast to November: “Classes? What classes? Cala Communications says we have one week to get all of the biographies for the profile book, we still need three foreign schools, we need more judges, we need five more cases, we could use a little bit more money, has The Gazette returned my calls?”
December: “Exams? What Exams? Cala Communications says we have one week to get all of the biographies in, we need more judges, we still need five more cases, … Erasmus just cancelled! Hold the t-shirts, hold the profile book, hold everything, and get another school NOW! The University Treasury says there is a two week delay on our cheque requisitions – the hotel wants money now, the printer wants money now, the t-shirt company wants money now.”
[img_assist|nid=753|title=|desc=Otago University team celebrates its victory.|link=none|align=right|width=400|height=221][img_assist|nid=754|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=400|height=219][img_assist|nid=71|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=400|height=267]January: “Classes? Again?” The megavitamins are working, we don’t need sleep… Moderators – money – profile book – hotel – CHECK. We still need 50 judges. Where did all these details come from? … Now, enter a snow storm in Toronto, a subhuman cold front in Montreal, a hotel without heat, missing schools… and it must be… opening night! The event would not have been the same without all of the incidents, er – anecdotes. Nancy’s “Ot-A-go”, the freezing fourth floor, Suzan’s judge moderator drill, the tunnel direction signs by J-L and DeeDee, spilt coffee in the Royal suite, snow storms, Swedish presentations, trick microphones at the semi-finals, a good night of sleep(?!), Anne’s roommate Nathalie wooing all the judges, Arctic winds on the Plaza level, team moderators camping out in the Royal suite, Kyle’s case run at lunchtime, room service prices, and last but certainly not least, those Studebaker’s dancers… All told, we were proud to host the first international competition and we were even more proud of every single person who helped us make it a success. Surprisingly enough, some of them are still talking to us.
But seriously, we would do it all again in a second… for a fee.
Last but not least, I would like to congratulate the Concordia Team: Laura Crazier, Helen Kotsovos, Ayla Assioun & Jonathan Mosel for doing a great job and ranking first in Quebec.
Louise Brunet