Case Competitions Challenge Analytical Savvy

The Case Method of teaching was developed in response to calls for “real” problem solving experience, and has been growing in scale and stature at business schools worldwide. The method provides students with an opportunity to experiment with multiple solutions, and try them out in a risk-free environment – something they will never he able to do once they graduate.

With the use of teaching cases on the rise. MBA case competitions have grown more common as a showcase for the analytical and strategising skills of students hailing from different countries. Case competitions are becoming grander in scale, increasingly diverse and offer a convivial setting for intense competition.

Opening Ceremony at the John Molson MBA International Case CompetitionIn January, members of ACRC staff had the privilege of accompanying a team of University of Hong Kong MBA students to the 24th John Molson MBA International Case Competition at Concordia University in Montreal. Organisers at the John Molson School hosted a total of 29 teams from Canada, the United States. Germany. Finland. New Zealand. Sweden and China.

Held in three stages with a total of seven cases, the competition progressed swiftly, with each team given just three hours to analyse a business case and prepare a presentation. To add to the challenge, modern-day aids such as the internet and PowerPoint were prohibited. This year. JetBlue Airlines, one of the official sponsors of the competition, presented a live case for the audience of 120 MBA students to sink their teeth into. In a lively presentation. Captain Al Spain. Senior Vice President of Operations, outlined the five main tenets of JetBlue’s corporate culture: safely, caring, integrity, fun. and passion. He challenged the students to propose a solution for JetBlue, such that it could make the leap from being a profitable niche airline to a major player in the industry, without losing its soul.

While winning was on everyone’s mind, the organisers ensured that an extensive social programme enabled the participants to meet each other as
well as the organising team, made up of current Concordia MBA students. The University of Calgary's Haskayne School of Business took top honours and the CDN $10,000 Export Development Canada prize.

In a concurrent competition, the ACRC was awarded First Prize in this year’s John Molson Case Writing Competition. The winning case, Shanghai Volkswagen: Time For a Radical Shift of Gears, deals with the strategic challenges faced by a first-mover in China’s fast moving auto industry, and is now available from our site.