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HBA students apply class knowledge to real-world cases

  • Communications
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  • Nov 15, 2017
HBA students apply class knowledge to real-world cases

HBA students presenting at the BCG Case Competition

Sakariya Ahmed and Braedon Boyd are both HBA1 students who participated in the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Case Competition Nov. 7-10, 2017. Here are their reflections.

Q: What is the BCG Case Competition?

Braedon Boyd: The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Case Competition is designed to enable HBA1 students to apply what they have learned in their classes, experience a real-world case, and make a recommendation for a problem being faced.

Q: What did you learn?

Sakariya Ahmed: Doing three cases over the course of three days meant spending a whole lot of time with your team. Most of what I learned was from the individual members of my team and how they applied their specific skills to help us move forward. We had really strong presenters who carried themselves with confidence, and I took notes as we practiced, attempting to mimic their energy. We had a few people who were strong with numbers and, although I still don’t completely understand what they did, it helped me understand how to tackle a case analytically.

BB: Ivey always pushes the idea of growth throughout the program and the BCG Case Competition helped both my group and me do just that. We learned a great deal from the judges and their feedback. The first two rounds had three judges critique and push back on our ideas, forcing us to back up our recommendations. I think one key factor to our success was taking the feedback from the judges to heart and improving our analysis and presentation each round – not being satisfied with the successes of the previous rounds. 

Q: What’s the hardest part of the competition?

SA: Definitely the time. You’d be forgiven if you thought four hours was enough to answer a case and build a presentation. We did, too. At first we tried our best to do all the analysis and hit every point but as the competition went on, we began to prioritize only the key aspects. For our final in-class presentation, we only had an hour to prepare so dealing with your nerves and presenting with confidence was hard to achieve. The time crunch also meant you had to learn to trust your teammates’ work and function together in order to succeed.

BB: When our group was selected to present, we all sort of looked at each other with the same look – nerves and disbelief. Presenting in front of 600 of your fellow HBA1s was undoubtedly the most difficult part of HBA1 thus far. I think the most important thing I learned from this experience is being able to tell a story, not sticking to a script. The reason for our success was everyone understanding that it’s about helping others understand your story rather than memorizing the most robust plan.  

SA: Overall, the case competition allowed us to not only apply what we learned in class, but have fun with our section mates and get a better grasp on how consulting really works.