Friday, March 06, 2009

The Case Competition

This post may not interest that many people, but I am enjoying this final stretch of my MBA pursuit. The Strategic MBA at the University of Houston – Victoria culminates in a capstone course which includes a case competition. As you might expect, I mean for my team to win that competition.

There are basically three reasons why I want to win the MBA Case Competition. First, the practical point – there is no ‘Dean’s List’ for MBA candidates, we do not graduate cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude, and while a strong GPA is nice, no employer really cares about it; since the necessary GPA to graduate is 3.0 or better, everyone should have a nice result for their efforts (mine so far is 3.933, if I get A’s in both classes this spring I can finish with a GPA of 3.9412). The only way to stand out in the graduating class of MBAs, is to place in the competition.

The second reason is personal motivation. I think I am one of the smartest and hardest-working students at UHV, so I’d better do my best to show that in my results. Besides, who doesn’t want to finish strong? And third, you never know when you need to look for work, and adding honors to your resume is always a good idea.

The competition, for good and bad, is relatively simple. Each 4-person team will prepare a paper for the target company, in our case PetSmart. We started working last month on the project, so everyone will have three full months to get their project show-ready. Of course, that lets the slackers catch up so our team will just have to be better in depth and in quality of analysis. That’s the second major part; the presentation. A lot of folks won’t rehearse enough, or will assume that their paper is enough to work on. Fact is, however, a good presentation may use the same data, but selling it to judges (or in real life, clients and superiors) means preparing the information to be easy to understand and compellingly persuasive. And of course, we can’t forget the Question and Answer session after the presentation, which can make all the difference between a good team and a winner.

Since it’s such a big deal for me, I will be writing more about the case competition this Spring. Hope it’s worth the read!

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