Yes folks, that IS a mouthful, I will admit!
Five second year MBA’s traveled to beautiful northwest Arkansas to participate in this competition, which was sponsored by Sam’s Club (which is headquartered in Bentonville, AR). The team consisted of Xia (Andrea) Huang, Mittal Haria, Raj Jaasthi, Parminder (Parry) Gandhi and myself.
There were 12 teams in attendance, and two were from out of the country – Sweden and Germany, to be precise. Each team was given the same case, and 24 hours to prepare a 25 minute presentation and be ready for 10 minutes of Q&A from a panel of judges.
For those of you who aren’t as familiar with case competitions… I’m including some pictures! It’s a hard task for five people to stay focused and continuously engaged for that long (especially when they’re all working on the same problem)! Our strategy was to use large sheets of paper to break down the specific types of analysis we wanted to do, the cost structure of the firm, the product offerings, as well as the exact goals and constraints that were presented. Each of us is skilled in different areas, so it was fun bouncing ideas off each other. Several of the team members have participated in several case competitions – so they brought some great ideas! My favorite was to align our recommendations to a slogan – we picked “CORE”. It’s amazing how easy it was for the judges to remember our slogan – in the feedback session, they specifically mentioned that they appreciated that.
Although our team did not make it into the final three, I know that I personally found the experience very rewarding – it was a great group of students from around the world, and the folks from Sam’s Club and local businesses were very accommodating.
For those of you that may be questioning what there is to do in northwest Arkansas… I was pleasantly surprised by how vibrant downtown Fayetteville is. This is likely because of the diverse student body at the University of Arkansas in that town. There was a dueling piano bar, many excellent and exotic restaurants, night clubs, pubs with vast draft beer selections, and a slew of friendly people that were willing to suggest places for us newcomers to check out. In particular, I recommend Willy D’s Piano Bar and “The Fix”, which is a jazz/hip hop nightclub attached to Willy D’s. It was a great several days, but now it’s time to catch up on schoolwork!