Case study competitions, as they are conducted in UCD, are a unique experiment into the intellectual, emotional and interpersonal resilience of the MBA student. A written case study of roughly 20 pages (including exhibits) is provided to teams of four or five, which then have four hours to read, analyse and discuss content, and then draw conclusions and recommendations to be presented to a judging panel.
This is a pressure cooker environment, where learnings of team dynamics fly out the window, to be replaced by raised voices, hair pulling and frayed nerves.
The team to which I belong won the Full-Time MBA case study competition. Our next task was to compete against the winning teams from the Mid-Week and Weekend Executive MBA classes. This was an especially daunting prospect, as we had followed the success of Jim, Steve, Shaun and Peter at the Molson and Yale competitions.
By contrast, team FTMBA had two preparatory meetings in Lazy Days, a café over the road from Smurfit. Both of which descended into blind speculation on the type of case to come up, mystification of our opponents and making plans for the pub afterwards.
Despite all odds, our unpolished approach to the competition paid dividends. Team FTMBA emerged victorious: according to the judges, the strength of our argument and narrative compensated for a shaky structure.
Our success takes us to the MBAAI Case Study Competition, to be hosted in Smurfit on 21st June. This will pit us against successful teams from other MBA courses throughout Ireland. Our team will need more formal preparation to succeed here. Unfortunately for Lazy Days, our team preparatory meetings will need to be in the focussed environment of a syndicate room.
Congratulations to the winning team from the Fulltime MBA class who are this year’s winners of the annual in-house interclass case study competition. Three teams battled it out on Saturday 17th May last in what proved to be a very closely fought competition. The FT team overcame two Year 2 EMBA teams – one from the Weekend and one from the Midweek class.
The winning Fulltime team are Trevor Whelan, Paul Gardner, Niall O’Muire, Mark Lawton and Mike Noonan. A special mention for the judging panel who had a tough job – Prof. Pat Gibbons, Prof Aikens and Richie Sommerville (MBA 2013) from last year’s All Ireland winning team.
The team will now go on to represent the school at the MBAAI All Ireland Strategy Competition on June 21st next. UCD Smurfit School has the honour of hosting this event this year as defending champions from 2013.
Not adding any extra pressure, but suffice it to say that nothing less than a win is expected once more.
Team Shamrock have created another video for their recent trip to Yale to take part in the Yales Raw Case Study competition. While narrowly missing out on a place in the final they did do UCD Smurfit proud by winning the ‘Best Leadership and Team Dynamic’ award and clearly had a great time doing it. Yale looks amazing. Thanks to Steve Kelly for the video and well done on subtly working Aer Lingus into it. Congratulations again to Steve, Shaun O’Keefe, Jim Gannon and Peter Lee.
The Yale School of Management Integrated Leadership Case Competition was held over the 5th and 6th of April at their campus in New Haven. With 13 universities selected from premier US business schools and the Yale Global Network for Advanced Management, the participant list benefitted from a geographical breadth as well as quality in depth. Teams were evaluated on their resolution of a 7 hour case in the Yale RAW Case Study format, a data rich format that requires the teams to focus on key issues early and to filter out the key relevant information and data. The Smurfit School of Business team (Jim Gannon, Steve Kelly, Shaun O’Keeffe and Peter Lee) were evaluated by a panel of judges and an in-room invigilator who considered leadership and team dynamics against pre-determined metrics. Although narrowly missing out on a place in the Final, the Smurfit team were successful in winning the overall award for Leadership and Team Dynamics, which included Yale School of Management, MIT Sloan and Carnegie Mellon Tepper schools of business among others. The team are very grateful for the support provided by both Smurfit and Aer Lingus, and are confident that the bond between the schools has been further strengthened by their participation, ensuring value for both faculty and future students.
As the internal UCD Smurfit MBA Case Competition approaches, the MBA 2014 cohort is creating alliances in the form of 4-5 member teams and preparing to do verbal battle. Classmates, friends, and competitors will go head-to-head to be named the MBA Case Competition winners, and to earn the honour of representing The Smurfit MBA programme at the MBA Association Ireland Strategy Case Competition later this year.
They may sweat and perhaps shed a tear, but let’s hope there’s no blood drawn as the teams use their knowledge and skills to out-smart each other.
As inspiration we give you memories of Team Shamrock who represented UCD Smurfit at the last Molsen Case study competition in Canada and did us proud.