November 16, 2018 by Jun Kim
The PBSN x PepsiCo Case Competition is coming up on Saturday, November 24th, 2018 9:30 AM to 6:30 PM! Before you compete, last year’s winners and finalists have some tips and tricks on how to crush your first university case competition.
WHAT IS THE PEPSICO CASE COMPETITION?
A case competition is a challenge where you and your team try to remedy a solution for issues a company is facing by suggesting strategy changes. You will have four hours to read the “case”, devise a solution, and prepare a coherent presentation.
This year, PBSN’s PepsiCo Case Competition features two divisions – a first-year division and a second-year division. For the first years, a case competition may seem quite scary. No need to worry, as Ivey’s Case Competition Club is hosting an educational on Monday, November 19th from 6:45 PM-8:30 PM in Ivey Room 1310 to give a comprehensive overview.
Before November 24th comes, here’s an exclusive interview with last year’s winners and finalists, Charlie, Shangbing, and Harrison, to get some insight!
1. WHAT MAKES A GOOD CASE COMPETITION TEAM?
Charlie: One word – balance. The core to any competition is the team itself, and even more so in the tight time and team size constraints of a case competition. It’s important to find the right balance of attributes between team members and to designate tasks accordingly. For example, my team last year had diverse specialties in marketing, finance and the underlying technologies powering the business.
2. WHAT WAS ONE THING YOU WISH YOU KNEW ABOUT CASE COMPETITIONS BEFORE YOU WENT INTO LAST YEAR’S PBSN COMPETITION?
Harrison: No case competition is perfect. No one has a perfect presentation, so you shouldn’t expect yourself to either. Focus on the big picture and feel confident in your solution because everyone is in the exact same boat.
Charlie: Depending on when you are scheduled to pitch, you could have less than 15 minutes between slide deck submission and presentation which means you need to start rehearsing well before the 4-hour slot ends. If I could go back, I’d do a better job at assigning tasks and coordinating what is to be done to ensure my team could squeeze out every minute allotted.
3. WHAT WAS THE LARGEST CHALLENGE YOU FACED LAST YEAR WHILE PREPARING? HOW SHOULD COMPETITORS TACKLE THAT CHALLENGE?
Shangbing: It definitely is a time crunch, so we had to put our slides together very quickly last year. To save as much time as possible, I would suggest you meet with your team members before the case competition and try to have a general outline of slides that you want in the presentation. Also, I suggest having a conversation about what everyone’s strengths and weaknesses are so on the day of the competition it is much easier to delegate tasks
4. A CASE COMPETITION IS VERY TIME-RESTRAINED. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR THE FIRST YEARS REGARDING TIME MANAGEMENT?
Shangbing: Make an agenda when you get the case, break down how you guys want to split your time between all the different components such as reading the case, research, making the slides etc. Follow the agenda you make; it is never going to feel like you have enough time!
5. WHAT WOULD BE ONE TIP REGARDING PRESENTATION?
Harrison: In case competitions, the way you communicate your ideas is almost as important as the ideas themselves. The biggest factor in improving presentation is structure. Knowing what you want to say and being concise will help save time. This also applies to the Q&A session. Before answering a question, make sure to keep it simple and avoid rambling.
6. WHY DID YOU FIND LAST YEAR’S CASE COMPETITION VALUABLE?
Charlie: It was a test of my nerves and ability to speak in front of a larger audience. I met a lot of new friends and like-minded people. I’d definitely encourage any first years to try it out for themselves!
Shangbing: Presenting in front of so many different people is nerve-racking so it really pushes you out of your comfort zone. Also, just having the opportunity to watch how other groups present teaches you a lot about what is effective!
Harrison: For me, it was a great opportunity to get my feet wet in a relaxed environment. PBSN always partners with interesting companies that students may not get to interact with otherwise. The upcoming PBSN x Pepsi Case Competition is an amazing opportunity, and I would highly recommend that everyone participates!
There you have it! All the insider tips on how to tackle your first case competition!
Make sure to apply by sending your resume here. Tickets are $10 for PBSN members and $15 for non-members. See you on November 24th!