The second day of the case competition was all about presentations. One of the things we were told was that, no matter what strategy your group has developed, if you cannot communicate it well, you can’t win. This was kind of a concern for me since I have never felt like I was a great presenter. I get by, but I always get pretty nervous before a presentation and sometimes I let that control me more than I’d like.
So as soon as my group came to Gerlach Hall that morning, the first thing we had to do was turn in our presentation and get our room and time assignment for the first round of presentations. We got our assignment at 7:30 and didn’t have to present until 10:05. This really worked out for us because, since we were so tired the night before, our attempts to practice were a bit unsuccessful. For the two and a half hours that followed, my team remained locked in the breakout room that had become home away from home, practicing our presentation.
As time passed I got more and more nervous. Practicing helped, but the thought that we would be presenting our solutions to actual HR Executives at Whirlpool ensured I was a little more anxious than usual. I think the rest of my group felt the same way. To remedy this 15min. before we were to present we took some time to walk off our nervousness by doing laps around the table in our room.
The next thing I knew, we were lined up outside the room we were presenting in. We all felt great about our idea, but greatly miscalculated the amount of time we would have to communicate it. I was the anchor, my responsibility was to go over financials, but by the time I was to present we only had about two minutes. We knew the judges would ask questions but we didn’t expect there to be as many as there were, and we ran out of time.
Somewhat defeated, we went back to our breakout room knowing we hadn’t fully expressed our strategy and feeling a little beaten up. We were served lunch and sat in our room watching an episode of The Office with a couple other first years, Sultan Yildrim and Yajing Cai, waiting to find out who the room winners were.
Finally we all gathered into the room where first round winners were announced. To our surprise, we won our room! We had another opportunity to present, and would be competing with the winner of the other room. We were drawn to go second so we filed back into our breakout room to discuss strategy. We made some changes to some of the things we said, and the second time, I was actually able to talk for more than a minute and a half.
After presenting, we had about a half hour for judges to deliberate before finding out winners. While we didn’t win the competition, Lauren Hall did win best presenter, and my group got second place. Also, my GHRA Buddy Jennifer Cargile won best presenter for her room.
All-in-all, it was an amazing experience. It was one of the most stressful things I’ve ever taken part in. Looking back now, two weeks later, I know i learned a lot and it was one of the most educational experiences thus far at Fisher. I would strongly recommend that any student entering the MLHR program, or any student who didn’t participate, enter next year. You won’t regret it.