SEBASTIAN MOLINA CALVO, CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY, PARTICIPANT AT BBICC 2017
Could you pinpoint a few moments from BBICC 2017 that have had the most impact on your overall impression?
-Overall, BBICC left a big impact and made an amazing impression. It’s hard to specify because the whole competition was run impeccably. However, if I pick a couple of specific moments, it would come down to the case launches, the judges’ panel, and the organizing committee and team ambassadors.
Both cases were extremely interesting, but what made BBICC more impressive was the case launches that preceded the case cracking sessions. Being able to listen directly to company representatives allowed us to understand and contextualize the case far more than just being given papers to read. This really set the pace and gave us a much better idea as well as a better starting place to begin the case. I think that this really elevates the competition and allows the teams to be far more efficient and eliminates a lot of the doubt that comes from not necessarily knowing too much about the case sponsor.
The judge panels were all very well selected. From industry professionals, consultants, employees from the case sponsors, and previous case club competitors, it was a perfect balance and really allowed for successful feedback after cases. Having good judges allows the presenters to dive deeper into the details and get their ideas across well.
Finally, from a logistics perspective, the competition is flawless, but more than that, the whole organizing committee and the team ambassadors were excellent. We always felt welcome and supported. We were able to focus on the competition but also had an amazing time and enjoyed ourselves throughout the week.
What is the key ingredient in the recipe for success regarding case competitions, according to your opinion?
-Personally, I think there are multiple key ingredients to success, being teamwork, defined role and preparation. It is imperative that by the time the preparation comes around, the whole team is used to each other and comfortable working together. Case cracking periods can be very high-stress moments, and a team that doesn’t have good chemistry can easily crumble over a small argument or get distracted if they are not working together.
It is also important that as soon as the case starts, everyone knows what they are doing, and that this continues throughout the case cracking period. You need to play to your team’s strengths and know who is in charge of what. Trying to delegate and discover who is good or bad at something should already be discussed and decided before competition time.
The caliber at this competition is very high. Many students or teams have already attended other competitions and there are a lot of experienced students from prestigious universities. All teams should be as prepared as possible when arriving at the competition. This ranges from having team structure, knowing how to approach a case together, having done research about the economic, social, and cultural landscapes in the regions, because there is no time to do this during the case crack.
Why should a student participate in case competitions like BBICC?
-I’m a firm believer that, as important as learning inside a classroom can be, there is just as much, or more, to be learnt from hands-on experiences. There is no better learning experience than tackling real problems faced by real companies. Competitions like BBICC are where students get a real opportunity to apply their learnt knowledge, as well as their soft skills like teamwork and presenting. By solving cases, one builds upon their academic foundations and gets in contact with the real business world. It forces students to learn to work efficiently and under stress.
Aside from the academic benefits, it is also an amazing professional and social experience. Throughout the competitions I’ve attended, I’ve been able to meet industry professionals from all kinds of companies and industries. I’ve received feedback from CEO’s and government ministers, and this is invaluable. Through this, you’re also able to expand your professional network and learn from industry leaders.
Finally, case competitions have been some of the most fun moments during my university career. I have made amazing friends from the teams I have worked with, but I have also had the opportunity to meet amazing students from all over the world. Meeting like-minded, ambitious students from different corners of the planets is a great part of attending competitions such as BBICC.
Do you have any recommendations and pieces of advice regarding Serbian culture for BBICC 2018 participants, having in mind it is most likely their first time here?
-Do thorough research! Like any country, Serbia has its own cultural, economic and social contexts that need to be understood before approaching any case focused on the country. Cultural understanding is imperative if you want to cover all aspects of a case and approach it from the right direction.
To start, I would highly recommend attempting to read Serbian news, or news about Serbia in the months leading up to the competition. Whether it’s the daily news or reading weekly summaries of what is happening not only in the country, but in the general region and in Europe.
Also, research on Serbia’s history will be a huge asset. A deep understanding of the roots of the country, the political landscape and its history can really shine a light on why things are the way they are. Whether it’s reading a book about Serbian history or doing some online research, this can really help you to understand the culture’s context and allow you place yourself in the mind of the consumer as well as the company that requires your help!
Best of luck!