In the guest post below, First Year Joshua Francis describes his experience in winning third place at the Howard MBA Exclusive (MBAX) Case Competition:
“A case competition is a fun way to apply class concepts to a fictional or non-fictional business issue. Typically, in case competitions, participants compete for the best solution to a case study within an allocated timeframe and then present the solution to a panel of judges. Darden students have opportunities to participate in company-sponsored case competitions, as well as competitions sponsored by other schools.
The Howard MBAX Case Competition was a great way for me to practice my project management, strategic thinking and presentation skills. The format of the Howard competition was slightly different from other case competitions — instead of competing against Darden students first for eligibility into a national competition, we immediately got to compete against other schools.
Although I’m a First Year, I got to team up with two Darden Second Years Kenneth Acuna and Edem Seshie. We met each evening after learning team for a couple of weeks to prepare for the competition. Our schedules prevented us from meeting for a long periods of time so we stuck to a divide-and-conquer strategy.
Darden was instrumental in our preparation. By studying hundreds of cases during our time at Darden, we were able to easily approach the case using different perspectives and easily analyze and communicate our recommendations. Our presentation was based on a ‘recommendation and reasoning’ format that came directly from our class concepts. We ended up placing third and winning $2000 in prize money.
My favorite part of the competition was becoming better friends with my team. Going into the competition, we knew each other already, but by the end of the competition, we had gotten a lot closer. The Howard MBAX Case Competition gave us a valuable opportunity to bond, exercise what we learned in class in a different learning environment, and network with students in other MBA programs.”