Yes, This Is Another Post About The P&G Case Competition

Thursday October 5th, 2009 was a very exciting day for the Fisher College of Business first year full-time MBA students… our first official case competition! For those not in the know, case competitions are basically the main battleground for intercollegiate MBA superiority… it used to be dodge-ball, but the AACSB decided that there wasn’t much academic merit to that. The basics of a case competition are as follows:

  • Create a team of students (usually four)
  • Read the business case (these can be between 2 and 50 pages)
  • Identify the issues
  • Develop a plan to resolve the issues
  • Prepare a presentation to communicate your plan for the “board of directors” – panel of judges

(taken from the Copenhagen Business School, “What is a Case Competition?” Website)

Our case competition was no different. Sponsored by Procter & Gamble (aka P&G as the cool kids call it), we were tasked to gather a team of four people, hopefully including someone who knew something about finance. The group I was in was lacking on the financials, but we sure made up for it in spirit and earnestness! The night before the competition, we tried to prepare for what might come up… but we had know idea what to prepare for since this was a completely new experience, all we knew was that there would be something involving a product that P&G produced. So we spent some time reviewing P&G marketing strategy and consumer insight. We also looked at some of the successful presentation PowerPoints provided by my mentor in the MBA Marketing Association and all around nice guy Mike Hrostoski to see what was deemed important information. Looking back, this may have been overkill, but I think it really helped us when the competition actually started.

The day of the competition arrived and the P&G representatives gave us the background and mission: Sell more Crest Whitestrips! Then they shot a pistol in the air and we all scampered off to our respective rooms to case compete. I’m kidding about the pistol shooting, but everyone did move pretty fast, unlike other case competitions that could last anywhere from 24-36 hours, the P&G case alloted only 4 hours. That is 4 hours to define what the problems facing Crest Whitestrips are, generate ideas for a solution, refine the solution, create financial and make the presentation. As anyone who has made a presentation before knows, that itself can take up to 4 hours. Needless to say it was a really intense 4 hours. I won’t bore you with the details, but here is the board from our room when we were done:

Our P&G Competition Board
Our P&G Competition Board

I thought we developed some very good ideas, including a high-end Crest Whitestrips dispenser ala the iPod dispensers you see in classy places. The next day were presentations each of the 13 teams gave 15 minute presentations to a “board” consisting of P&G representatives and marketing professors. Everybody’s presentations were great! It is amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it for 4 hours. There wasn’t a dud in the bunch, it shows just how great Fisher students are. It was also great to see people present who you never get to see present because they aren’t in your EPI section. I got to design our team’s presentation, which was fun, but very stressful, you can see it here: Team one PNG CASE COMPETITION Slides. In the end we ended up winning, which was really exciting and a big surprise because every team was so good. But not a bad end to my first case competition, looking forward to the next time, with even more time! Also big/major props to my team 1 case team mates: Brian Blewitt, Prasant Balakrishnan and Nancy Dadas, you guys are the best! (PS: everyone who competed in the P&G case competition got goodie bags with Crest Whitestrips Advance Seal in them. Having previously used their strips and been disappointed, these Advance Seal ones, change everything! they are amazing, go get them. thank you.)

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