Barrie Eisenberg, Kristin Fanto and Kate Benesch prepare Heavener International Case Competition
From left, Barrie Eisenberg, Kristin Fanto and Kate Benesch prepare for this week's inaugural Heavener International Case Competition.

Heavener School hosts the world

For nearly a decade, business schools all over the globe have welcomed the Heavener School of Business to their case competitions.

Now it’s the Heavener School’s turn to return the favor. The inaugural Heavener International Case Competition, one of the few international case competitions held in the U.S., begins today at Heavener Hall.

“This event provides the best and brightest young minds from around the world with an opportunity to display their business acumen,” said Dr. Brian Ray, Associate Dean and Director of the Heavener School of Business. “More importantly, this forum affords talented and motivated young people with an opportunity to learn from one another in a competitive and robust environment.”

The Heavener School’s track record in international case competitions has been exemplary. The Heavener School celebrated one of its most successful years ever in 2015-16 as it won three competitions and finished second in another. Including its second-place finishes in New Zealand and Thailand this past fall, the Heavener School has reached the final round (top four) of nine international case competitions since 2012-13.

Hosting an international case competition certainly presents challenges. The planning that goes into organizing a 20-team event with participants from four continents is extensive. In addition to the competition itself, event officials help coordinate transportation, meals, and selection of judges, as well as outings for the teams (Day 3 of the event is a trip to Disney World in Orlando).

The logistics and financial commitment to host such an event is a major reason the number of undergraduate case competitions in the U.S. have dwindled. Dr. Limon said that Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business are the only other schools to host similar undergraduate international case competitions.

“It’s a huge undertaking,” said Communication Lecturer Dr. M. Sean Limon, who teaches the Heavener School’s case competition class. “Not only does the actual competition need to be strong, but so do the social and cultural activities. Those are the times where students will make relationships that will last a lifetime.”

A consequence of Heavener hosting this competition is that its team is composed of students who have never before participated in an international case competition. That’s because many of those experienced students have served on the event’s organizing committee for the past few months.

Despite the Heavener team’s lack of experience, the group is entering the competition with a healthy mindset.

“We’re looking at it more as an opportunity than a challenge,” said junior economics major Kristin Fanto, who joins Kate Benesch, Barrie Eisenberg and Johanna Lugo on the Heavener team. “We’ve put a lot of work into this, and the vets have been really helpful. I know they’ll be rooting for us.”

ABOUT THE HEAVENER INTERNATIONAL CASE COMPETITION

Twenty teams from four continents—Asia, Australia, Europe and North America—will be tested on their abilities to develop viable solutions to business-related problems, and present and defend their solutions to a panel of business executives.

Format: The 20 teams will be divided equally into four divisions. Teams will have 24 hours to work on the competition’s first case, and less than 48 hours to work on the second case. The division winners—the teams with the highest cumulative score from both cases—advance to the finals. In the finals, teams will re-present their solutions for Case 2.

Competition Schedule
Monday: Case 1 distributed to teams
Tuesday: Case 1 presentations (Heavener Hall)
Thursday: Case 2 distributed to teams
Saturday morning: Case 2 presentations (Heavener Hall)
Saturday afternoon: Final round presentations (Pugh Hall)

Teams
Asia: Chulalongkorn University (Thailand), Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Shantou University (China), Singapore Management University, Thammasat University (Thailand).
Canada: Concordia University (Quebec), Simon Fraser University (British Columbia), University of Alberta, University of Western Ontario.
Europe: Maastricht University (Netherlands), Rotterdam University (Netherlands), Universidad de Navarra (Spain).
Oceania Region: Queensland University of Technology (Australia), University of Auckland (New Zealand), University of Melbourne (Australia), University of New South Wales (Australia).
United States: University of Florida (host), Florida State University, University of Southern Indiana, University of Pennsylvania.