Case Competitions From left: Krannert MBA students Bo Sun, Siming Li, Deron Leslie and Jacob Haury watch their competitors' presentations at the 2016 Challenges in Energy Case Competition at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. The competition focused on battery storage in conjunction with solar PV panels on residential homes in the Los Angeles area. Teams were tasked with building financial models to calculate value of projects with and without battery storage devices. Using the financial analysis, participants pitched a business model to a software company looking to enter into the battery storage and solar PV panel market. (Photo provided)

Open, Shut

Behind the scenes at a case competition

Case competitions are staple at most business schools, including Krannert, which offers dozens of opportunities for students to compete at both the graduate and undergraduate level.

These experiences allow students to solve real-world problems, travel nationally and internationally, and compete as a team with Krannert classmates. They analyze a case and define the problems that need to be solved, apply strategic thinking, interpret data, compare alternatives and recommend long-term. measurable solutions.

One such recent event, hosted in January by the UCLA Anderson School of Management’s Energy Group, was the fifth annual Challenges in Energy Case Competition, which drew 12 teams from some of the top business schools from around the country. For this year’s competition, the Krannert Energy Club selected second-year MBA students Bo Sun and Siming Li to represent Purdue, as well as first-year students Deron Leslie and Jacob Haury. Here, Sun offers a day-by-day account of the event, from the opening analysis to the closing presentations.

Thursday, January 21

The first day after the case was released, we met from 7 a.m. to noon. As it is highly focused on the solar industry and greater Los Angeles market, it is extremely challenging for our team to gain direct insight and industry knowledge. Thus, we spent most of our time conducting market research. Leveraging multiple databases at Parrish Library of Economics and Management, we covered 20 scholarly articles and five industry reports. This created a foundation of understanding the critical policies and industry operations.

Friday, January 22

Siming completed the financial analysis at 3:00 a.m. and we met gain from 3:00 to 11:00 p.m. to discuss, brainstorm and critique one another’s solutions. At a certain point, it’s necessary to reread the case multiple times for clarification. As the team continuously accumulates the critical mass of knowledge, we configured our business model and strategy blueprint.

Saturday, January 23

We met again from noon to 11:00 pm. After we demonstrated and audited our business model, the next step was to turn it into a business plan and assemble the slide deck. I ran into some disagreement with Siming about the design of slides. While I prefer a more content-heavy, consulting fashioned presentation, he argued that our target audience in this case is a startup. We resolved it by integrating content with multiple visual aids and spent the rest of day crafting business solutions and slide deck. Meanwhile, Jacob designed a great business model and logo for our company!

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