Better than the Competition
Happiest Team! (L-R): Competition Judge; Michael Tong (USA); Nick Ariens (USA) and Vibeke Rhode (Denmark); Richard Hungerford (Canada) and Felix Schoeller (Germany)
Winners for Best "Industry Presentation"
Five CBS Full-time MBA’s proved that they are just as good if not better than their American and other international contemporaries when they walked away with one of the top prizes in the USC Marshall Business School Global Consulting Challenge.
The Alpha Team, comprising Nick Ariens (USA); Felix Schoeler (Germany); Vibeke ATode (Denmark); Michael Tong (USA) and Richard Hungerford (Canada) were pleasantly surprised when they heard their name being called out as the winners of the Industry Presentation award, one of three prizes given out at the competition.
Although they did not win the overall prize, all credit goes to them for getting recognition in an IT-focused competition where none of the team members had previous experience, proving that CBS MBA’s are among the best of the best. The Alpha Team went up against 8 other top business schools (mostly from the US) in the competition, where they were tasked with solving a strategic issue for competition sponsor, Hewlett-Packard.
So How Did It Go?
We caught up with the team shortly after their return from the US, and here is the blow by blow account of their impressions of the competition.
CBS FTMBA (FTMBA): So how did it feel to hear your name called out at the prize giving?
Alpha Team(AT): We were thrilled and each of us had grins from ear to ear. It was an added bonus to a great day.
FTMBA: Were you surprised by the announcement of your name or did you kinda-sorta expect it? J
AT: Yes! We were completely surprised. Given our lack of experience in the IT Service industry, we thought we had a better chance at the consulting or company award. But the industry panel judges thought our approach was most creative.
FTMBA: Which other teams were in the running for the best Industry Presentation award?
AT: We were up against all the schools competing from Berkley to Michigan. We thought Berkley had the best odds for the Industry award because they had a strong background in IT (and also weren't suffering from the same jet leg we were).
FTMBA: What were your expectations once you’d assessed the other teams, the judges and the structure of the competition?
AT: We were immediately impressed by all the attendees. The other teams were very professional. The funny part is that all teams had to remain anonymous until the end of the competition. However, it was hard to conceal the fact we were from CBS. The competition itself was well put together. After dinner with the judges the first night we were sent to our breakout rooms where we worked on the finishing touches to our presentation until midnight.
FTMBA: How did the judging work? (Was it one person per category or a panel?)
AT: For each of the three presentations there was a panel of judges. Each panel had a different approach. The consulting panel was like a pack of wolves interrupting us as we tried to get through the presentation. We manged to claw our way through.
FTMBA: How would you describe the overall experience of the competition?
AT: It was incredible. We were told by others that it is one of the most intense and time consuming case competitions. But we loved the process. We went from zero in terms of knowing about the industry to winning the industry analysis award. It was also interesting to meet the other students and judges.
FTMBA: Who was the overall winner of the competition? Why did they deserve to win?
AT: USC was the overall winner. Because of the NDA, we never get to see the other presentations. But they seemed smart.
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