Case competition teams stand out around the world

The Heavener School completed its most successful year in international case competitions with a pair of first-place finishes and three third-place finishes out of the eight competitions attended. With competitions in Australia, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands and New Zealand, the Heavener School proved itself as an international power in case competitions.

“This has been our best year ever,” said Dr. Sean Limon, who coaches Heavener’s case competition teams.

Before spending a year competing with – and often defeating – the world’s best business schools at international competitions, Heavener’s teams are formed months in advance in a classroom.

Taking place in the fall semester, Heavener’s business case analysis class prepares students for the grueling year of competing. The class is split into two halves – the first focusing on foundational knowledge of how to approach a case while the second half works on application and practice cases.

Limon analyzes how students would fit into competition teams during the class based on skill set, coachability, delivery skills and attitude. Each team needs students with strengths in opening, closing, PowerPoint, strategy, and finance.

Limon challenged the fall 2016 class after choosing members of the travel team at the beginning of the spring 2017 season. The previous year’s class did not live up to expectations, and Limon wanted the incoming class to restore the program’s reputation.

And they delivered in a big way.

With an all-rookie fall 2016 class team, the Heavener School won the Champions Trophy Case Competition in New Zealand, which is an invitation-only event that welcomes 12 teams based on strong performances in the previous year. They then won the John Molson Undergraduate Case Competition in Montreal. Heavener teams also earned third-place finishes in the International Case Competition at Maastricht, the SDS International Business Case Competition in New Zealand and the Global Business Case Challenge in Japan.

Winning is the priority for the students, who spend many hours per week practicing and refining their presenting and messaging skills, but it’s not the only benefit. Competition experience pays off in career readiness and helps Heavener students make instant impacts in their internships and careers. Many case competition members return from summer internships shocked by how their skills have translated and given them advantages over students from other universities.

“My case competition experience has not only made me more confident and communicative in interviews, but it also made me stand out as a candidate through my summer internship last summer, from the company’s intern case competition to being able to speak up in meetings and work effectively on my team. This led to receiving the offer of my full-time position,” said Amanda Rorabaugh, who received her offer from Bank of America after competing in the Champions Trophy Case Competition and Global Business Case Challenge.

The Heavener School aims to expand their successful international case competition formula by incorporating a series of case competition events for all Heavener students.

“Our success in these international case competitions not only builds the reputation of the Heavener School as a global leader in undergraduate business education, it also prepares these students to excel professionally after graduation,” said Dr. Alex Sevilla, Associate Dean of the Heavener School. “I’m delighted to partner with Dr. Limon to bring these essential critical thinking, presentation and team leadership skills to all of our students in the Heavener School.”