In a case competition, participants compete for the best solution to a business or education-related case study within an allocated timeframe. Most competitions involve undergraduate students, reportedly a result of the approach's continuing prominence in the North American sector. Teams deliver presentations for judges and while competitions vary in composition, a standard format and purpose exists.
The case competition concept originated in the United States and originally involved only domestic competitors. The idea of expanding the concept to include international organizations emerged later and Asia, Quebec and Canada host competitions.
Although case competitions were initially introduced in business education in North America and Western Europe, other regions, are starting to catch up. The Middle East and North Africa region has recently seen the launch of the Middle East & North Africa Regional Case Initiative (MENARCCI) at the American University of Beirut (AUB). MENARCCI's goal is to serve as a depository of all necessary knowledge about the case method, sources of cases and publishing outlets, and the links to all cases on the Region available on-line. In the Middle East, cases competitions are conducted by the American University of Beirut and the American University in Cairo. More information can be found on MENARCCI web site.
Participants exercise skills and knowledge on a "real world" case for an actual company, with the support of representatives who can provide professional advice. Other competitions select an issue based on its degree of importance, and employ the competition as a means to both highlight the issue and create potential solutions through the efforts of the competitors. Participants can also be assessed as potential candidates for analysis-based jobs.
Teams in case competitions display how quickly, thoroughly and skillfully a case can be understood and analyzed, and solutions crafted. Teams do not interact. Each team is judged independently. The teams usually adhere to a time limit and specific rules. The judges' decision is usually final and, in a competition such as the John Molson MBA International Case Competition, a summary evaluation is provided confidentially.
Competitions can be internal to a business school, or they can involve teams from multiple schools. Sometimes the competition includes several rounds, with the final round typically judged by outside company executives (sometimes the panel consists of executives from the actual company in the case). For example, the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business' 2010 round of its Global Business Case Competition featured a customized case on the Boeing Company and Boeing executives acted as judges.
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Formats vary according to a number of dimensions. The following dimensions are often used to classify and compare competitions:
- Host: corporate versus educational institution
- Participant selection: "by invitation" versus "by application"
- Level: undergraduate, graduate,...
Formats may vary along practical dimensions, including:
- Case specificity (whether the case has been written especially for the competition or not)
- Number of teams
- Organization (student-run, professional etc.)
- Rules, e.g.:
- Time (common format is 24 hours)
- Degree of access to expert advice (either from within the competition or externally)
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Some competitions add complexity to create a more interesting challenge. For example, Ohio State University (OSU)'s Center For International Business Education And Research (CIBER), in its annual Case Challenge, created teams from the overall pool of participants, regardless of school, dissolving the usual school-based team format. For the Ohio State scenario, once the students are assigned to teams, a full day of team-building exercises is run for competitors.
|Asian Business Case Competition||Singapore||Nanyang Technological University||Undergraduate||12 teams||2007|
|CBS Case Competition||Denmark||Copenhagen Business School||Undergraduate||12 teams||2002|
|Champions Trophy Case Competition||New Zealand||University of Auckland||Undergraduate||12 teams||2008|
|Citi International Case Competition||Hong Kong||HKUST||Undergraduate||20 teams||2003|
|Global Business Case Competition||United States||University of Washington||Undergraduate||15 teams||1999|
|International Graduate Competition||Canada||HEC Montreal||Graduate||8 teams||2012|
|John Molson Undergraduate Case Competition||Canada||John Molson School of Business||Undergraduate||24 teams||2009|
|Marshall International Case Competition||United States||University of Southern California||Undergraduate||30 teams||1997|
|McGill Management International Case Competition||Canada||McGill University||Undergraduate||12 teams||2001|
|McIntire International Case Competition||United States||University of Virginia||Undergraduate||6 teams||1982|
|NUS-DBS International Case Competition||Singapore||National University of Singapore||Undergraduate||12 teams||2009|
|Sauder Summit Global Case Competition||Canada||Sauder School of Business||Undergraduate||12 teams||2013|
Competitions by application
|Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (I.C.B.C.)||Canada||Queen's School of Business||Undergraduate||102 (48 teams)|
|Business Masters||Germany||Karlsruhe Institute of Technology||Mixed Undergraduate/Graduate||27 (9 teams)|
|CaseIT MIS Case Competition||Canada||Beedie School of Business||Undergraduate||64 (16 teams)|
|Hult Global Case Challenge||United Kingdom||Hult International Business School||Graduate||150 teams|
|KPMG Case Competition ||Hong Kong||KPMG||Mixed Undergraduate/Graduate|
|L'Oreal Brandstorm||France||L'Oreal||Undergraduate||135 (45 teams)|
|Rubicon Contest ||Germany||b.one, BiTS Iserlohn||Mixed Undergraduate/Graduate||96|
|Suitable for Business Case Competition||Denmark||Suitable for Business||Mixed Undergraduate/Graduate||48|
|Changellenge >> ||Russia||Undergraduate||2,500|
|Purdue Human Capital Case Competition ||United States||Krannert School of Management||Graduate||36 (9 teams)|
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