Berkeley Haas Places 3rd at USC Marshall’s International Case Competition
Written by Ryan Senense.
(Left to right: Ella Ranzhi Xue, Hannah Kim, Arthur Lam, Adam Osterdock)
Congratulations to Berkeley Haas’ team that attended the USC International Case Competition, and placing 3rd. We were fortunate enough to have two members, Hannah Kim and Arthur Lam, answer some of our questions about the amazing experience of being able to participate and represent Berkeley Haas.
What is the most valuable aspect of working on case competitions?
Arthur: For me, the most valuable aspect of working on case competitions is the relationships I’ve developed with members of competing teams. I’ll never forget memories of hiking Beverly Hills with team Netherlands, exploring the Santa Monica pier with team Singapore, and getting KBBQ with team Beijing and Thailand. Berkeley Haas external provides an incredibility opportunity to meet with and compete against some of the brightest students from around the world. Watching how other teams tackled the case and learning from their strengths was a truly humbling experience.
What was the team dynamic like? What makes a successful team dynamic?
Arthur: We were the only team this semester that completed both the placement simulation and actual case competition together. I think we had a good balance of skills from the start. Ella brought a lot of creativity and energy. Hannah is great at decking and keeping us focused. Adam was a flawless public speaker. Recognizing and playing to each other’s strengths really took us far in the competition.
How did you learn the skill sets necessary for the competitions?
Arthur: Before traveling, my team and I completed several rounds of case competition simulations that developed our public speaking, case analysis, and decking skills. However, I think the biggest contributor was prior case competition experience. There’s no substitute for hands-on experience when it comes to developing skills like time management, storyboarding, presenting, and answering Q&A in the context of case competitions.
What is some personal advice you can give to people who want to start case competitions?
Hannah: Case competitions are a great way to get exposure to public speaking and business problem solving under time pressure. For those interested in case competitions, I believe it is important to be proactive and expose yourself to new business learning opportunities.
From attending a talk given by a business leader to being proactive in group projects at Haas, I believe that all the skills or lessons you attain from these experiences will subconsciously accumulate and become helpful even during case competitions. Speaking with peers who had previously done case competitions also helps you understand the actual experience. I personally learned a lot from the mentorship that I received from my upperclassmen friends at Haas.
Have you been able to apply classroom knowledge to your cases?
Hannah: Yes! Although all of my business classes helped me develop different types of business skills, case analysis-focused classes have been particularly helpful during the Marshall case competition.
I previously took UGBA 106 (Marketing) where I had the opportunity to analyze multiple business models and think about potential marketing recommendations for each. Our Marshall case consisted of a social media marketing component so it was helpful to apply the frameworks that I learned from class into our strategies for the competition.
This semester, I am taking UGBA 131 (Corporate Finance & Financial Statement Analysis), and the class helped me gain a better understanding of how to evaluate a company’s financials at Marshall as well. A lot of the case assignments at Haas entail in-depth discussion and active collaboration with peers, which fundamentally prepared me for a team-driven case competition at Marshall.
How important are ‘soft skills’ in case competitions?
Hannah: I believe soft skills are very important in case competitions. Aside from aiming to bring the best results back to Berkeley as a team and applying the technical skills and frameworks to cases, it was also important to be able to understand our audience and grasp what the judges were looking for in our presentations.
Great communication and critical thinking skills complemented our research and quantitative analyses during the competition. Both the hard and soft skills contributed to our teamwork and defined our case competition experience in LA. In general, soft skills are important for meeting new people from business schools all across the globe and making new friends!
(Photo Credit: USC Marshall Case Competition Website: http://marshallinternationalcasecomp.com/ )