Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Elite 8 Brand Management Case Competition Reflections

By John Hollfelder and Joe BoesenFirst-year MBAs, Marketing
From left to right: Joe Boesen, Amy Mueller, John Hollfelder, Emily Josephson, Samantha Sieloff

After competing on a team that placed 2nd at the Elite 8 Brand Management Case Competition in early November, first-years John Hollfelder and Joe Boesen reflect on the competition and how it changed their MBA experience at the Kelley School of Business.

John: Competing in the Elite 8 Brand Management Case Competition provided a valuable personal and professional learning experience. I saw taking the opportunity to compete against other top business schools at Duke (Fuqua), UCLA (Anderson), Northwestern (Kellogg), Michigan (Ross), and UC-Berkeley (Haas) as an opportunity to transfer teachings from the Core to solving real world business problems. I was surprised how much of the academics from this fall we used including discounted cash flows, strategy frameworks, economic GDP and population considerations, as well as marketing segmentation, targeting, and messaging.

With less than 30 hours to analyze and present our solution to the client, H.B. Fuller, we were forced to quickly come together as a team. We challenged each other and pushed one another, working right up until the deadline to compile our recommendation.

Joe: I learned three lessons after competing for Kelley in the Elite 8 Brand Management Case Competition and winning 2nd place overall.

1. Start Strong with Good Team Dynamics - Positive team dynamics in a case competition is the most important factor for success. Our team started off on the right foot by enjoying Turkish food (Turcaz) in Bloomington a week before the case competition. This was a great opportunity to build personal relationships that would be tested during the case competition. As a result, we discovered that our team was well balanced with the right personalities, trust in each other and skills to create and present a compelling, actionable recommendation in under 30 hours.

2. Manage the Clock/Get Sleep - We received the case at 8pm on Thursday, worked until midnight, then began on Friday at 8 am and worked until the submission deadline at midnight. A later start on Friday morning allowed the team to sleep and power through the day to submit the recommendation by the deadline. We also watched the clock to make sure we kept pace and weren't running out of time.

3. Have Fun! A national case competition with top schools certainly creates a competitive atmosphere, but if you take time to laugh and joke while creating your recommendation, you will enjoy the process. After the competition at the awards reception, the team enjoyed networking with MBAs from other schools and sponsoring companies.


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