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Case Competitions and Chances to Grow

Andrea PuterbaughAfter a week of countless hours of studying and not enough hours of sleep, I am happy to share that we survived our first round of finals. Now that we have taken a short break, it is time to get back into the swing of things, and nothing helps you do that quite like a case competition. I was excited to have the opportunity to participate in the Krannert Graduate Student Association’s annual case competition, which was sponsored by Amazon and AT Kearney. Although my group did not make it into the final round, it was still an excellent experience that I learned a great deal from.

One of the first lessons that I learned from the case competition is to make sure that you are properly prepared going into it. My team was comprised of all first-year students. And although it is perfectly fine, it would have been a good idea for us to at least take an hour or so to sit down with a more experienced student who had participated in case competitions before, or we could have even asked someone with more experience to be part of our team.

Secondly, we learned that, although it is fun to work with your friends, sometimes you need more differentiation within a team. We thought we had included someone from each background that we needed in our group, but we realized once we were already into the case that none of us had a strong background in finance. Next time, we will make sure that we take inventory of our individual strengths so that we have more diverse strengths within the team. 

These kinds of lessons will be valuable for our careers. In the future, we will be working with others to solve complex issues for our employers. The diversity of the Krannert classroom and emphasis on experiential learning and team dynamics will prepare us to face those challenges head on.

Despite the fact that we didn’t win the competition, I still believe we all gained valuable experience and now we are more prepared for the next case that we participate in. I am already looking for more opportunities to get involved and use the lessons that I have learned from this experience on the next case competition. But, in the end, my group still won because, although we didn’t go home with a check, we went home with more experience and understanding of how to do better in the future which is just as important to me.

Andrea Puterbaugh

First-Year MBA Student