November 10, 2011

Winning the NAAMBA Global Case Competition

Post by:
Roman Sverdlov
MBA Candidate, 2012

First things first, I must introduce the team – Sabrina, Sid and myself, Roman. All proud members of Cohort B!

The NAAMBA competition wasn’t our first case competition together, we had experienced the joy of one previously. That competition, which did not go nearly as well, was a great learning experience. So when an opportunity presented itself again, we decided it’d be fun to give it another shot.

The first deliverable of the competition, a three page executive summary, was due in mid-July. We submitted, then anxiously waited three weeks to find out if we’d been accepted. Finally, the good news came at the beginning of August. Out of sixteen teams that entered, our team was one of four chosen to present at the finals during the
NAAMBA conference. Which also meant a sponsored trip to NYC! Our three competitors were USC, Purdue and Syracuse.

For the final presentation, the deliverable was a marketing plan positioning Singapore as an ideal career destination for Asian young professionals living in the US. We would be given fifteen minutes to present, followed by a Q&A session. It was an exciting prompt, and interesting to analyze how a country in this economy was looking to attract more talent.

Miraculously, we didn’t procrastinate. A lot of our free hours in August were dedicated to research and developing our arguments (though in truth, none of us really had very many free hours). The time devoted to this exponentially grew through the month of September all the way up until the morning of our presentation on 9/9.

At the competition, we were fortunately scheduled to present last. The set up of the competition was interesting in that all teams were present for each presentation, and could ask questions during the Q&A session. The first three teams presented and we thought they all did a great job.

Finally it was our turn. Our presentation was different from the others. We had a unique style and our recommendations differed. We were happy with the presentation and felt that we had a chance at winning. We had lunch at the conference, and then just spent time relaxing. All of us were exhausted.

That night, we attended the gala reception, where we would find out the winning team. The reception was great - we enjoyed the speeches, performances and our delicious dinners. We spoke to some of the judges who raved about life and work in Singapore. Then it was time for the judges to announce the winner. We sat nervously, as the key judge spoke about the competition. And finally he announced the winner…Boston University!

To hear BU announced as the winning team was a bit surreal. All of the work had paid off. They brought us on stage to accept our award. Sid even gave a brief thank you speech (calm and collected, sounded like it was his 100th one!). After the reception, many BU alums, parents, and past employees who were in attendance congratulated us on the victory. They were proud to have a BU team win. It felt like a victory for the whole BU community.

I must admit it was a lot of work but the experience of the competition was amazing. For winning, we received a free trip to Singapore where we’ll meet with executives around the country to learn more about the business environment there. For Sabrina and I, it’ll be our first time anywhere in Asia.

After it all, I definitely recommend doing at least one case competition! It truly was a memorable experience which was made really special by my fun, hard-working and compassionate teammates, Sid and Sabrina.

So if you have any questions, please ask. We’re all happy to help!

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