CityVP Manjit 🐝 en Competition Learning Journey of a beBee Brand Ambassador • making beBee the Hub of my Learning Journey 1/10/2016 · 3 min de lectura · +200

Teams, Judges and Industries


Blog Linkage :

http://www.today.mccombs.utexas.edu/2011/04/14-secrets-to-winning-a-case-competition

Blog linked above is posted by Tracey Mueller of the Mcombs School of Business - at Univeristy of Texas with tips received from Josh Stillman, Karson Chang and Allison Rubinson

That post above is what drives my thoughts below, which are my initial thoughts on reading 14 Secrets to a winning a case competition.

When it comes to "case competitions" I am now a "one day old", the objective being that I immerse myself in the modern students world of a competition type that I never engaged when I studied in England in the 80's.  If I had, I now know that I certainly would have enjoyed the cut and thrust of case competitions, though I don't think I would have enjoyed the straight-jacket of thinking that one must operate from in order to win a case competition.  Let us call that academic discipline, but the downside of prolonged exposure to the world of case competitions is probably turning into a case competition robot.  So as I begin to study this area of competitive academics, I will keep my focus on its rich educational potential, rather than mire myself into the impetus that drives why a team would want to win a case competition.

Today I turn my attention to some students in Texas who in 2011 wrote a blog called "14 Secrets to Winning a Case Competition".  The post linked is written by Tracey Mueller.  It is my practice to focus on the individual mind that offers a perspective, rather than that groupthink mentality that is a tribal associates with an institution or a curator, so many people would miss the fact that that this post included the thinking of Stillman, Chang and Rubinson.  Evokes Stills, Crosby and Nash doesn't it, and if it does, these three students become much more real.  

The perspective these three students offer is about winning a case competition, and most writers will offer their views from this perspective, in the case of this post, Tracey Mueller points out a sterling track record of wins by the McCombs School of Business, so here I will indulge the human desire to be a part of winning team, even though my raison d'être is life-time education and not an achievement that for most will be a part of their history no sooner than the moment most studetns start their work-life in a full-time capacity.

The McCombs graduates split their perspectives into three categories or at least Tracey curates it that way :

Build a balanced team

Anticipate the judges' questions

Understand industry trends

Immediately I can draw in that this touches upon the three tripods of case competitions - the team, the judges who judge that team,  the industry or background that the judges belong to.

No matter how well one lays out an argument, what comes out in practice is mostly far different to how we conceive it on paper.  Here we should separate the academician from academics.  The academician has the skills to research and build a great case, but a case competition is a practice, so it must undergo the process of the cutting room floor, whereas academics can be graded A+ but have very little practical use in the way we actually engage in the world. 

As I learn more about case competitions here, my only reference point is the world I live in, rather than the prototypical setting of a case competition.  In reality a case competition is a sports event, for if it was anything more than that, most employers would be putting their own employees through such case competition.  Look at any graduate employer program and it is centered around sending the graduate into the field and getting a taste of different parts of the business.  Why is there a difference in practice between the workplace modality and the business school modality?  That is purely a rhetorical question for my own mind to ponder.

I can see why Tracey says competitions are often won in Q&A, this is no different to a fighter taking the last round because they know what will score points for the judges, hence case competition for the pursuit of victory is a sport.

For any case competition team, the blog post above is a succinct check-list of things to be mindful about but that does not mean that they will be practiced by students.  That is the challenge that I heard from the Case Competition executive I met yesterday and as they formulate their approach, I serve them very little by replicating what it is they are doing right now.  Instead I embrace this as a personal learning challenge.  One of those challenges is mentioned in the article about Judges from Karson Chang

The disparity between what you think you know and what you actually know is often surprising, and it forces you to do extra research.
Karson Chang in 14 Secrets to Winning a Case Competition

Where I am lucky is that in learning about case competitions, I am not under the pressure of justify every assumption presented to a judge.  That is a real pressure to cooker to put any person in, let alone someone who has yet to experience the full potency of work life experiences.  Karson does make really good points about judging and these points in turn I can use if one of these days I decide I might want to be a judge of a future case competition.


What I love about Alison Rubinson's response about industry trends, is actually her reiteration of the sheer scale of a case competition.  She is a student in Texas,  her school has to go to Los Angeles for regional and then the national competition in Connecticut.  I would not be surprised that schools pick students that have no real intent in pursuing the competition further than their own backyard, so I can envisage leaders of case competitions dreaming of the academic version of the crane kick, only to find out that Daniel Son does not have the will to go past the first hurdle - but I am sure there are Case Competitors with that crane kick - but being so new to this sport, it will be my pleasure to find them in due course, and yes I am implying that judges might go for the knee of the case competitor team.  I have a sweet spot for the mortal underdog.  Just when we can dream, Rubinson reminds us that it also can come down to luck.Teams, Judges and Industries


CityVP Manjit 🐝 2/10/2016 · #7

#6 This is the DNA of @Aurorasa Sima that I am reading and I value it. We did not have this variety where is the learning? Win and winnings are all a part of what I call emergence. I pursue the adaptive or emergent existence. Right now I have begun working with a group of young graduates whose mandate is competition, so I am not advocating competition here, I am learning about it. For me a great leader creates more leaders and "my leaders" are my kids. Not the one's at the college but the eight we gave birth to in our own home. So far three of the eight are now successfully leading their own lives and the other five are developing well. When Jiddu Krishnamurti talked about followership and "Do not follow" in Freedom from the Known, I knew that for most people is impractical to think things through the way he did http://www.jkrishnamurti.org/krishnamurti-teachings/view-text.php?tid=48&chid=56785 what I like about Krishnamurti is that he did not advocate his cult, he walked away from his cult. http://www.katinkahesselink.net/kr/star.htm that what was kick-arse about him for me, that he could tell people to go follow who they wanted to follow but that he did not want followers. This is diversity and I do love it.

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Aurorasa Sima 2/10/2016 · #6

#5 Followership would have a better reputation if there were more great leaders around. The term is not trademarked and just like every person who signs up to a multi-level-marketing scheme calls himself "entrepreneur", everyone who knows how to post a picture on LI can call themselves "leader".

Some advantage of being a follower
- A leader helps you grow
- Leadership done right comes with responsibilities, being a follower allows for more carelessness
- Leaders take a lot of the shots aimed at their followers
- Leaders are in the public eye
- They have (or should) to be role models

I guess it comes down to the question: Are you in for the win or the winnings?

I´m in for the winnings. I don´t care about crowns, VIB titles or anything like that. A good leader can help maximize your winnings while lowering your risk, offering protection and adding to your power (knowledge).

Great leaders often produce followers that are "better" than themselves.

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CityVP Manjit 🐝 2/10/2016 · #5

#4 Yep, my meaning of leadership is very different from popular understanding, because I mean the way we lead our life. Your frame around followership was very intelligent, to me you lead your own life, you are a leader - but I love what you said about being a happy follower. That is one of my flaws, in that I hate being told what to do, but that is what learning is about - and that is why I love what you said in two ways

1. Happy Followers
2. Annoying leadership quotes and definitions

These are not things I have contemplated, but they sure are frames that can help me become more accepting. So thanks for that.

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Aurorasa Sima 2/10/2016 · #4

#3 You seem to mean "leadership" different from the popular understanding or maybe apply it to the sports competition environment.

I for one am not a leader nor do I aim to be. I am a happy follower. I consider followers important people that make or break leaders. I´m sure that you would not refer to me as a cheap imitation so that I suggested that your definition of leadership must differ from all of the annoying "leadership quotes and definitions" on social media sites.

That´s probably the most important thing to teach young people: The ability to think.

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CityVP Manjit 🐝 2/10/2016 · #3

#1 Dear @Aurorasa Sima I sometimes contemplate that there really is only one spot for leadership which is where one is in the lead, otherwise it is about the led, and the best way to escape the dog eat dog of competition is stop following others and make one's way in life. We can create such a unique existence that we don't need to concern ourselves with who shall imitate us or be flattered by such imitating.

We then become the leaders of our own uniqueness for what we born to be capable of being, and then if we are not that, then we are merely followers, cheap imitations, copies of copies. What we then of think of leadership is essentially the very life we lead, the choice we made which we deem to call leadership, whether it is that or not.

The best thing the kids said in their post was giving the judges something they never thought of seeing, but the reality of such competition then must surely be slavery and not leadership - for then our work life begins with a bow and a kowtow to life's judges. There is a name for that and I don't call it leadership, I simply call that obeying authority.

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Aurorasa Sima 2/10/2016 · #1

I believe this is great advice on team building and winning competitions. I say "I believe" because I am neither a competitive person nor involved in team building.

I can see how the advice these three young people put together can work in a business environment just the same.

As always, I enjoyed reading your thoughts.

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