International Business Case Competition 2017 by Carla Planz
It was 10:30 on Friday morning, April 7th when our team was handed a white envelope containing the case that we would dissect and solve in the twenty four hours that followed. Max Petre, Cedric Mfuranzima, Salome Mosehle, Jamie Kendrioski (our team advisor) and I had arrived in St. Louis, Missouri the sunny afternoon before as a team of Glavin Global Fellows members prepared to compete in an International Business Case Competition. After seeing the impressively large and shiny Gateway Arch and walking through some pretty gardens, we had a barbecue feast at Pappy’s Smokehouse, a popular spot in St. Louis, before resting up for the competition the next day.
As we eagerly read the case given us in our designated workspace on the University of St. Louis campus, we realized that we had our work cut out for us. Based on the case, we were to act as consultants for Edward Jones, a financial advisory firm with its headquarters in St. Louis. Our objective was to make recommendations on how Edward Jones could succeed in the future, as the Baby Boomer generation transfers their wealth to Millennials. We were also addressing the fact that the Financial Advisory industry is currently in decline, as less people are entering the field. With these daunting challenges ahead of us, we worked throughout the day and late into the night, racking our brains for possible solutions. We focused on analyzing the pros and cons of each idea that we had, as we knew that explaining alternative solutions and our reasons for our recommendations would be a vital part of giving a high quality and high scoring presentation.
In working together we quickly learned of one another’s strengths and weaknesses, and the sum of our team’s strengths proved to be enough to help us to finish in time to present on Saturday morning. After the first round of presentations, everyone in the competition had lunch together as we waited to hear whether or not we had been selected to advance to the final round. Salome, Cedric, and I found empty seats at the lunch with a team from the University of Richmond. We enjoyed talking with this diverse group of students (two people being international students and two exchange students) before hearing it announced that both the University of Richmond team and our team had advanced on to the final round of presentations! Our teams wished one another luck as we prepared to present one last time.
Before presenting for the second and final time, Jamie helped us to improve our presentation, as he had watched our first presentation. Though we were not allowed to change our presentation slides, we clarified some of our explanations and ideas and improved some of our presenting techniques. Though we felt that we improved in our second presentation in certain ways, we also felt that certain aspects of the second presentation were more challenging. The judges, for example, asked tougher questions at the end of the second presentation than they had in the first round.
As the winners were announced later on that afternoon, I felt a sense of satisfaction as we received second place, knowing that we had worked hard to prepare. I also felt pleased to see the University of Richmond win first place. We had watched their final presentation and seen their excellent analysis of the case. They also showed kindness and good sportsman towards us from before any of us even knew that we were finalists until after they earned first place. I returned to Babson that night feeling exhausted, but also feeling thankful to have bonded with my Babson team and happy to have had the experience of competing against schools from all over the country.
— Carla Planz ’17