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Experiencing Montreal...

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For the second year in a row, students from the Perdue School competed in the John Molson Undergraduate Case Competition ( in February. Sponsored by the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University in Montreal, the event is a weeklong challenge between 24 teams from business schools around the world. This year’s competition included schools from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Scotland, Singapore, Spain, Thailand and the United States. The other three universities from the U.S. were Georgetown University, the University of Florida and the University of South Carolina. Case competitions require students to use critical thinking skills in a time-constrained setting to solve actual business problems. Their solution and plan of action are then presented to a panel of corporate executives who evaluate the students’ presentations.

Perdue students participating in this year’s competition included Stefan Antony, a senior accounting and information systems double major from Salisbury; Krista Close, a senior management major from Delmar; Nicholas Disciullo, a senior marketing major from Baltimore; and Gloria Majchrzak, a senior information systems and marketing major from Frederick, MD. Dr. Olivier Roche, associate professor of management, is the faculty coach.

The Molson Competition randomly divides the competitors into six four-team divisions for the opening rounds. Our division also included the Chinese University of Hong Kong, HEC-Montreal and the University of Sao Paulo. Each of the division teams competes in three head-to-head matches in a round-robin format on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Teams are given three hours to analyze the case and develop a 20-minute presentation. The solutions are followed by a question period by the panel of judges. Each competition has a total score of 15 split between the two teams; typical scores are 8-7 or 9-6. Monday’s case was m.AD, a mobile app that is used to track consumer shopping trends. The case concerned the product’s launch since a competitor (Shopkick) already exists. Tuesday’s case was Truck ‘N Roll, a Canadian trucking company that specializes in concert equipment transport. Evaluation considered whether the firm should remain as it is, change their current business model or acquire another company. On Wednesday, students analyzed the inventory control and point of sales systems provided by LightSpeed, a large ($6 billion revenue) Canadian company. The Perdue team won all three of these matches and led their division entering the semifinal round.

The semifinal round competition format changes. Teams are literally locked in a hotel room and given 24 hours to analyze the case. All four teams compete head-to-head with a total of 60 points being awarded. This year’s case was Elekta, a company that provides radiation oncology solutions. The company is currently second in the industry, and students were asked to consider and prioritize 15 issues including rebranding, corporate culture and communication problems, market expansion in existing and new markets, and others. The Chinese University of Hong Kong won this round edging the SU team out of the final round. The six division winners competed in the finals with the National University of Singapore winning the competition.

All in all, a great week of competition that gave our students a chance to not only compete but excel against students from a group of internationally-renowned universities. We plan to increase the number of competitions entered in the coming years; please let me know if you’d like to help support these efforts.

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