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  • Steve Houlihan, Case Competition Extraordinaire

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    First-year MBA student, Steve Houlihan has been very busy this year. Apart from his studies, networking and career search, Steve has also been a part of three case competitions. Because case competitions seem to be a hot topic for perspective students and a wonderful opportunity for current students, I asked Steve to write a guest blog on his experiences.  

    This year I have had the opportunity to participate in three case competitions, the Cyber Ethics Competition at Baylor University, the Illinois MBA Strategy Case Competition, and the Global Consulting Challenge at University of California Marshall School of Business. By participating in these case competitions, I was able to develop my presentation and problem-solving skills, and I was able to challenge myself to apply the concepts learned in class to real world business problems. Working together in a team with my classmates has enabled me to learn from my colleagues while leveraging all of our strengths and backgrounds.

    Although the competitions that I participated in required us to solve business problems, each problem was very unique. The biggest challenges of a case competition are time managements and being able to go through a tremendous amount of data in a very short time. Before you can participate in a national case competition, you have to qualify for the team by presenting in a competition within the Illinois MBA program. Out of the internal competition, a team of four will be chosen to represent Illinois.

    While case competitions require a lot of work, they have definitely been worth the investment. Besides the opportunity to work in a team and solve a case, case competitions give you the opportunity to network with students from other MBA programs and business professionals from all industries. They deliver great potential to build relationships for future employment and to obtain knowledge from all industries. Case competitions also provide you with a great resume builder and can help you distinguish yourself from other job applicants.

    I have truly enjoyed my time competing against the best and the brightest this year and cannot wait to see what the next case competition brings!

    Steve’s description of case competitions and their importance have been echoed throughout our MBA program—those that have participated in them have found them extremely beneficial for their personal and professional development. If you have any questions for Steve, please feel free to leave a comment on this blog. I thank Steve for his time and look forward to seeing what else this Case Competition Extraordinaire gets involved with in his second year!