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Nine things you need to know about the BCG case competition

  • Communications
  • |
  • Dec 16, 2014
Nine things you need to know about the BCG case competition

For nearly a week in November, HBA students work hard to impress at the 2014 Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Case Competition. Although case competitions are an integral part of the activities of the program, here are nine ways this event is special.

1. Boston Consulting Group has sponsored the competition for 19 years

Now in its 19th year, the BCG Case Competition is a four-day intensive workout that places HBA1 students in small groups to analyze three cases and present their findings and recommendations to a panel of judges. As one part of the ‘Learning Through Action’ (LTA) course, this competition provides an opportunity to apply lessons from multiple courses in a real-world context and develop group skills in a variety of work situations.

2. All HBA1 students compete

It is a mandatory event for all 600-plus HBA1s. The HBA program office creates 10 teams per section, or a total of 80 teams, to compete.

3. The competition is a pressure-cooker
The competition features three separate presentations, and groups have just a few hours to prepare for each round. Presentations are graded by the course faculty based on the quality of analysis and recommendations as well as presentation skills. Each presentation is equally weighted. After Round Three presentations, LTA Faculty and guest BCG judges for each section  make a decision as to which team from their section will move on to the Finalist Round on Friday.

On the Friday, eight teams presents to a panel of BCG Judges.

4. The judges are tough but fair

The first two rounds are judged by LTA faculty. Round three includes one BCG representative, and the final round is judged solely by BCG Judges.

This year, final round judges were: John Bayliss, HBA ‘99 - Partner & Managing Director, BCG Toronto; Michael Block, HBA ‘07 - Consultant Recruiting Director; and, Adam Gordon, Associate Recruiting Director.

Other judges included:

  • Danish Ajmeri, HBA ’13
  • Nabila Dhanji, HBA ’14
  • Erik Garbin, HBA ’13
  • Vitu Jeyakumaran
  • Ally Maringola, HBA ’14
  • Matt Page, HBA ’13
  • Tomas Van Stee, HBA ’13
  • Andre Wilkie, HBA ’14

5. BCG puts a lot into this event

John Bayliss, Partner & Managing Director of BCG Toronto and competition judge, said that for many partners at BCG this case competition was a critical introduction to strategy. Many BCG members are HBA grads, and that “the lessons on the importance of integration learned in this competition are really valuable and leave an impression on students.”

6. The competition teaches students real-world skills
The BCG Case Competition is the first of several case competitions that make up LTA. Along with the well-known, year-end ‘LemonAid Challenge,’ the course is designed to enable students to apply concepts and skills learned in HBA1 to real-world situations.

7. Yes, there are prizes

All finalist teams attend an Awards Ceremony and Lunch with BCG representatives. During the lunch, the top three teams are announced. After the Awards Luncheon, BCG will meet with the top three teams for 20 minutes each to debrief and provide feedback. There are also monetary prizes for the top three teams.

8. Meet this year’s winners

First Place from Section 1 (Team 10) – Rajiv Asdhir, Steve Cluff, Sam Frankel, Victoria Fu, Jonah Issenman, Anita Tran, Veronica Wang, Jean-Marc Wilkie

Second Place from Section 4 (Team 32) – Kyle Fan, Andrea Hall, Spencer Higgs, Abhinav Jindal, Benjamin Sommerville, Christian Tam, Lynn Tay, Thomas Vaculik

Third Place from Section 2 (Team 13) – Alex Busvek, Henry Choi, Dante Godinho, Dante Godinho, Alyssa Pandolfo, Rahul Sharma, Dorothy Wong, Joseph Yim

9. Students learn critical business skills
Here are just a few of the many lessons learned by students:

Anita Tran, Team 10
“I learned that you really had to trust your teammates and communicate efficiently. We did not have time to question each other’s work with our short time frame and it was important to us that we never blamed anyone.”

Sam Frankel, Team 10
“Winning was a thrilling experience none of us will ever forget. It was especially rewarding because we took a huge risk in our recommendations for the case, however it paid off and we were all very proud of that.”

Rajiv Asdhir, Team 10
“The pressure of the BCG case competition was intense. Not only did we have to read an entire case on an industry we knew nothing about, but we had to prepare a coherent slide deck and a compelling presentation all in the span of four hours. The BCG case competition was a wonderful learning experience, despite the high-pressure situations, and I truly believe I will be able to apply the lessons I learned in teamwork in the future.”