Large group of students sit in the UF Football stadium under a sign that reads This is Gator Country
Heavener International Case Competition participants in The Swamp at the third annual event.

International teams compete at successful third annual Heavener International Case Competition

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Twenty teams of undergraduate students traveled to the Heavener School of Business at the University of Florida Warrington College of Business February 11-17 for the third annual Heavener International Case Competition.

Teams from the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, Oceania and the Middle East competed for the coveted Gator Trophy and the chance to later participate in the Champions Trophy Case Competition, of which the Heavener International Case Competition is a qualifying case competition.

“One of the things I’m most proud of about the Heavener International Case Competition is that after its first year, we were selected to be a Champions Trophy Case Competition qualifier,” said Dr. Sean Limon, Heavener International Case Competition faculty advisor and Senior Lecturer at Warrington’s Management Communication Center. “It shows how quickly everyone was impressed with our competition.”

Teams spent the week of the Heavener International Case Competition thinking critically about how to solve real business problems and get a taste of American culture, including a bar-b-que tailgate at UF’s Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, a trip to Disney World and a visit to the La Chua Trail.

“Good case competitions have three things,” Limon said. “The case competition itself, culture, and opportunities for socializing and networking. Not only do students have the opportunity to learn business solutions skills, but they also get to learn about other cultures and get to network with students from other countries.”

This year, the cases were sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton and Study Edge, and each case asked teams to find a solution to a real business problem the companies face.

“We take our relationships with our sponsors very seriously,” Limon said. “One of the things we really strive for is that our sponsors get a lot of value for sponsoring a short or long case. Our competition is all about providing real business solutions to real business problems.”

The case competition teams consisted of four students, each required to be a full-time undergraduate student of the participating school and majoring in a business discipline. Teams were then split into four divisions, and the competition was split in two rounds. The first round was a five-hour case while the second round was a 30-hour case.

The first case, sponsored by Study Edge, was about how the company could better grow and market itself. The second case was sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton and was about solving an onboarding issue the company faces. The consulting firm was particularly impressed with the solutions students presented.

“At Booz Allen Hamilton, we value ‘Collective Ingenuity’ – harnessing the power of diversity to identify and solve problems,” said Jeff Schwartz, Principal at Booz Allen Hamilton. “The 20 schools participating in the Heavener International Case Competition (HICC) have diverse and challenging curricula that push students to be resourceful and creative in solving business problems. So as an international management and technology consulting firm, we identified HICC sponsorship as a unique opportunity to tap into these students’ desire to apply their lessons by deliberating through a case drawn from an ongoing corporate challenge we face.

“We were incredibly impressed by the ‘Collective Ingenuity’ demonstrated by the HICC participants. We found their recommendations to be highly creative yet feasible to implement, providing us with a variety of perspectives to consider as we proceed toward a solution.”

The participating teams and sponsors of the Heavener International Case Competition weren’t the only ones that benefited from this event. The Heavener School of Business students that made up the organizational committee got firsthand experience with planning an international event.

“Students get the chance to learn how to put on a high-quality event, and, if they watch the case presentations, they also get to learn more about how to give a business presentation and how to do it well,” Limon said.

Associate Dean and Director of the Heavener School of Business Alex Sevilla adds that the impact of the Heavener International Case Competition goes beyond the solutions students are able to provide businesses

“The Heavener International Case Competition is a signature experiential learning event that brings top students from some of the best business schools around the world to compete, learn and network,” Sevilla said. “We are proud to provide a truly global stage for these exceptional students to advance their critical thinking, problem solving, influence and teamwork capabilities.”

Of the 20 teams that participated, Chulalongkorn University in Thailand came in first place, followed by HEC Montréal (second place), Thammasat University (third place) and the University of Hong Kong (fourth place).

Learn more about the Heavener International Case Competition.