Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to compete in Fisher’s annual Internal Case Competition sponsored by Ernst & Young. Granted, the idea of choosing to be holed up in a break-out room in Gerlach Hall for hours on Friday night might not sound like the most exciting or glamorous way to spend a precious weekend, but I have to say that it was a complete blast. The chance to work with some of my friends in the program that I don’t typically get to work with was awesome, and we really got into it.
The case for this year’s competition revolved around an established fragrances brand that was evaluating a variety of channel and product development options as avenues toward sustainable growth. Since my group was made up of four dudes, and this fragrance line was exclusively for women, one might have perceived that as a distinct disadvantage, but we were undaunted. We walked over to the gas station and loaded up on Combos (pizzeria pretzel, obviously), Sun Chips, Starburst, and an array of beverages—essential elements of any successful case competition experience—and got to work.
One notable thing about the Fisher MBA experience is the broad scope of knowledge categories that you begin to develop in a really short time. For someone without a business background, taking classes in operations, finance, accounting, marketing, leadership development, organizational behavior, economics, and global business, all in the first year, can feel a little like drinking from the fire hose at times. That said, now that we’re approaching the end of the first year (that’s insane to realize), it was really fun to discuss this case with my classmates and find that I was able to view the company’s position from an array of vantage points. As we brainstormed solutions and discussed threats and opportunities through a variety of lenses, I realized something—I’ve been learning stuff! The chance to get outside of the traditional classroom and apply that knowledge was once I won’t soon forget, and the camaraderie of competing alongside good friends just enriched the experience more deeply. I will wholeheartedly recommend the Internal Case Competition to next year’s first-year MBA students—good times, for sure.