November 31, 2019 by Evan Kula
On November 30th, PBSN and CIBC partnered up to bring you the Case Competition of the year! With almost 200 competitors from First and Second year, it was one of the largest case competitions held on campus.
Note from the event organizers
Hi everyone! We are excited to announce the success of our Catalyze Case Competition with over 160 participants in both first- and second-year divisions! This year, we hosted the event alongside our title sponsors CIBC, where students competed for summer internship interviews for any role at CIBC, alongside over $1000 in cash prizes. We were particularly proud to see all the incredible presentations generated over the span of three hours from teams in both the first-year division which featured a written case and a second-year division which featured Canada’s first-ever undergraduate LIVE case. The Development portfolio would like to thank our sponsors, HBA judges, and all of the participants for joining us last weekend for the case competition, panel, and reception, and we look forward to seeing everyone at future events! Thank you,
Vishal and Sajin
We’ve gone ahead and interviewed past winners and finalists from the previous PBSN case competitions. Here’s the final collection of the finest tips for all of your case competition needs!
When presenting a slideshow to a panel of judges a presentation must be relatable and captivating. The best way to obtain both of these goals is to create your own story. The concept of storyboarding involves starting your presentation with a relatable piece that makes the solution that you’re about to present relevant, and then making sure to continuously stick to this story throughout the presentation!
Take this example of presenting to a children’s toy company: Show a photo of a child and tell the judges to imagine this to be their child and explain how your presentation and product will directly influence that child. This brings a more personable factor into your presentation and makes for a more realistic pitch.
2. Have prepared slide deck
Many case competitions will actually let you bring in pre-made slide decks that will save you a TON of time on the creative finishes to your presentation. However, when creating your team’s deck make sure to make it general enough for any case competition. Examples of things to include in your deck could be an executive summary, implementation of the product and aesthetic animations!
3. Have a diverse skillset
Diversity is important anywhere in the business world. Different outlooks on topics can help approach a problem from unique angles and the same can be said for a case competition team! When looking for your team don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone and work with some un-likeminded people!
4. Read the room (before and during your presentation)
Whether it be your first or one hundredth case competition, chances are you will have a different panel of judges whom you are trying to impress. Cater to your audience! For example, if your judges are nodding off, pick up the energy! If you notice confused faces after presenting one of your solutions, pivot quickly to another topic. Also, understand that presenting to an external consultant will be much different than presenting to a CEO. The biggest thing to keep in mind is to show that you are professional, compelling and persuasive. Every team member has an image to manage and impressions go a long way!
5. Have ideas that are feasible and unique
It’s not always about “ticking off all the boxes” in a conventional manner, but rather the fact that sometimes straying away and providing a unique solution is what ends up having a greater impact. Everyone will follow the basic framework to an extent, but it’s how a team can think “outside the box” and strike that balance between creativity and framework that will really determine how impactful their overall pitch ends up being.
6. Budget more time then you think to make your presentation look good
Picture this: you have the perfect solution to the case presented. You and your team are confident presenters BUT you ran out of time making your presentation visually appealing! Don’t let this common mishap happen to you. Devote enough time to making your presentation easy to follow and engaging for your judges.
7. Divide work based on aspects of the case
After you’ve come up with a diverse team will an array of skillsets, put them to work! Make sure you distribute the different components of the case and your solution equally among your group members to maximize your efficiency. An example of this could be splitting the content up to marketing, presentation, product and market structure.
On a side note, be sure to try changing it up every once in a while and take on a different role. You never know what you’ll enjoy and maybe a hidden talent could be uncovered!
8. Be open and accepting
Confidence is key when presenting, but avoid being over-confident to the point of believing your solution is flawless. Sound like you are presenting a leading solution but be honest with your idea and the judges. Be realistic and understand that no solution can be perfect in a day. Failing to do so can come off as defensive and give judges the impression that your explanation is too good to be true!
9. Be genuine, confident, and bold!
Be confident and natural while you’re presenting. Also, the passion that you show for your idea is obvious to your judges gives a fantastic impression that your solution is something special. It’s always easy to be nervous when going into your presentation so trust that your team has your back and that all of the hard work you put in will pay off!
10. Work through small goals throughout the competition
Time management is one of the biggest factors in many case competitions. If you set goals and work towards checkpoints throughout the solution your progress will be much more structured and cohere with the organization of your presentation. Just remember to be flexible, adjustable and trust the process!