Thanks for chatting with us Steve! So, tell us about all the case competitions you've been a part of... Well, the first one was at Baylor and it was the Ethics Competiion. That one was tough and I wasn’t sure what they were expecting. Several other students had been in competition before so it was a little intimidating. I just recently qualified for the Illinois Strategy Strategy Case Competition [wich takes place at UIUC] – I feel a lot more prepared this time around. And finally, I'll be competeing in the Big Ten Case Comp at Ohio State on March 31 – April 2.
What motivates you to keep participating in all of these case competitions? I really enjoy it and its fun. I don’t think its as tedious and hard as everyone says, honestly, they overthink it. It's not really a horrible, time consuming event. It’s one or two nights of hard work! Plus we got top 3 at Baylor and I’m really competitive so I want to win at least one - that is really what's driving me!
What is your favorite part of competing? Um, probably the question & answer section where you have to defend your answers to the judging panel. You come up with this idea and you are really sset on it and then when someone questions you about it, its fun to figure out how to sell someone on it in a different. It’s the judge vs. you so it presents another competitive situation.
What are some of the challenges that you run into? Sometimes the cases are really confusing, or ambiguous. You don’t really know initially what direction to go in so you have to pick a route and see where it takes you. Once you come up with an idea and a strategy you have to stick to it and make it the best. There’s not really a right answer to these things, you just have to come up with a good idea and then be ready to defend it really well.
How do you balance time between preparing for the competitions, class, homework and your personal life? Everyone always asks this! You just have to schedule things and I use my calendar all the time…its not really that difficult because its really only two days of work. Granted, if I want to leave town or take a weekend trip, I have to be pretty aware of what the competition will require of me in terms of timing. You might have to make small sacrifices in order to make it work.
What skills are you developing or using in these competitions that will benefit you in your future career? Teamwork; definitely presentation skills – I can speak in front of any but people may think I'm boring or unenthused, the audience may not be engaged so its good to think about how to change. Of course, you can get up and speak, but you have to be aware of how you speak. Also, learning how to work under pressure and with time constraints is a good skill to have. I have also really come to value hearing other opinions of people I work with. It really interesting how they think about problems differently than me. It helps me think about things in a different way.
What would be the subject of the ideal case? Why? I would really like to see a case having to deal with a professional sports team. Not coaching so much, but the business behind what they do. You know, how they run the franchise: who to sign, how much money to use, the marketing. I'm not really interested in the logistics of the game itself, but the actual franchise as a business. I think the players are the marketing tool for the franchise and it would be interesting to have insight into the inner workings of this business.
Thank you so much Steve for giving such great insight about your experience with these competitions! Good luck in you quest for a win!