Network of International Business Schools (NIBS) International Case Competition 2017, Rauma, Finland
This year a team from DIT B Sc Marketing, final year has qualified for the final of the 22nd NIBS International Case Study Competition, one of 16 teams from an initial entry of 40 Business Schools who entered this prestigious competition. This is the longest established business case competition globally and is running from 26th February to 3rd March 2017 and hosted by Satakunta University of Applied Sciences – Rauma, Finland.
All teams are seeded into four groups of four teams and compete in a round-robin over three days. Each team ‘plays’ against the other with a scoring system that allocated 11 points between the teams for each match. The top two teams from each group, based on points scored, go forward to the quarter-finals and so on.
All cases are chosen by the host university and are international in focus but can relate to any domain of International Business. Teams, with nothing but the case study and their references books, are expected to analyse the situation using appropriate methodologies, evaluate alternatives and produce creative, well-argued solutions, within a three or four-hour period. They present these in a twenty minutes in their role as consultants to a team of judges. The judges then have ten minutes to ask questions. After both teams present, the judges make their evaluation and provide scores and feedback to both teams.
In addition to the rigors of case analysis, there is a significant social and cultural dimension to the week with company visits, a visit to city hall to meet the city’s politicians and an opportunity to taste Finish culture and life.
Monday started off early with teams commencing their case cracking from 8am. Brisk, cold but clear here in snowy Rauma.
With months of speculation on the flavour, focus and content of the cases to come we were still none the wiser as we arrived to start on Monday.
All was revealed with a Harvard case ‘Emaar; The Centre of Today Tomorrow’, which focused on the U$15bn property developing business located in Dubai. The core business was very successful and the issue to address was the next stage- to develop further in the home market or invest abroad, all within the context of the recent downturn and subsequent uncertainty.
All teams either opted for an expansion strategy to a new market or further development of the Dubai market.
The team did a great job presenting their solution with confidence and clarity (a key issue for non-English speaking judges) and their analysis was excellent. The excelled in the Q&A in particular. However, it fell short marginally to Heilbronn University in the judges view and we lost 6 to 5. A close call which puts the pressure on but was still a great performance with nothing to complain about. So we are up against the University of Vermont tomorrow who were beaten by our other group member, and reigning champions, Carleton University.
Greetings from Finland at the start to day two of the competition. Today is an important point for our team with a real need to grab a win and put us back in contention. The case was ‘Tiger Balm: Internationalisation and Product Extension, an NUS/Ivey case which was ideal for our team. Up against Vermont, it was hard to differentiate the two presentations, with both featuring some good innovations and high quality presentations. Again, it was a nail-biting wait for the scores from the judges but thankfully in our favour 6 to 5.
So we now sit second in the group, just behind our competitors tomorrow, Carleton, and one point ahead of Heilbronn University. Every permutation is possible with only one team (Carleton) now guaranteed for the quarter-finals and the other three teams all in a position to get the remaining place.
The teams started the final group round today at 6.45am as all groups must be completed by lunchtime.
Todays’ final group case was ‘Samsung Mobile: Market Share and Profitability in Smartphone’s’ with a tight three-hour turnaround for all teams. Everything depended on the outcome of both matches in our group and it couldn’t have been closer. We were against the group leaders and current champions, Carleton, with a 100% record. We didn’t dint that record but we did enough to finish second in the group and qualify with the top eight teams for the quarter-finals.
Day Three, Part Two
So with a mere 90 minute break the team entered the preparation room one more time, on this occasion, against our great friends Memorial University in the quarter-final match. This was also a three-hour preparation. The case was a BTB one titled ‘Ultrarope: Crafting a go-to-Market Strategy for Kone’s Innovative ‘Ultrarope’ Hoisting Cable’. Despite the grueling day with two cases back-to-back the team did a magnificent job with a bold, innovative strategy, enough to win the day and go forward to the final day, along with Concordia University, London Southbank University and Carleton University.
Day Four (the day off)
The well-earned ‘day-off’ included a sleep-in, a walking tour of the UNESCO world heritage city of Rauma and a particularly Finish phenomenon of Ice-Swimming, yes ice swimming.
All the students went to one location for a range of activities and the coaches were deposited by the shores of the Baltic sea. Following a traditional Finish lunch everyone enjoyed the heat of a sauna, to be balanced by a dip in the Baltic sea (see photo), currently a balmy 1°C/34°F!
An experience hard to describe.
After a well-earned rest day yesterday, we went forward with the three other teams to compete for the final two spots. After a week of speculation, we finally got a CSR-related case with ‘Nestle SA: The Nescafé Plan in China’: A nice case with lots to work with and certainly suitable for the team. We were on after our keen rivals in many previous competitions, Concordia University. As a semi-final there was great support and turnout from all the other competitors with the Memorial University Team, despite losing to DIT in the quarter-finals, sporting a ‘Good Luck DIT’ banner.
However, we narrowly lost to Concordia who go on to battle Carleton later today, once again a Canadian-dominated final.
Carleton University won the final which featured a case on strategic integration ‘Sany’s Cross-border Acquisition, Integration and Strategic Renewal’.
The week finished where the DIT team were awarded their bronze medals and received the most inspiring coach of the competition award.
So overall, a great performance at every step of the way by the whole team and while disappointed not to reach the final, there were no regrets as the team performed exceptionally well. Also, the have represented DIT so well and are a real credit to us making the final four in this ultra-competitive competition.