Why should I participate in case competitions? (Part Two)
By Sarah Kim
You’ve heard of what case competitions are and what type of competitions exist (if not, check out part 1 here). So why should you participate in them?
I thought the very same thing, but from the first competition that I ever participated in (and failed), the 2020 Google Case Competition, I quickly realised that case competitions are jam-packed with opportunities. In a short amount of time, you are expected to come up with a brand-new idea that is not just backed by research, but is feasible, innovative and makes an impact. It is a lot of work, but it sure is worth it!
1. You learn a lot
With every case competition, you are bound to learn something new. Think about it – there’s all these different types of case competitions, the business environment is made up of so many industries, new technologies emerge often and trends are always changing. Sure, you can read about all this, but it’s rare that you are able to apply so much knowledge into one project during university. Case competitions are the perfect opportunity for you to become a true all-rounder.
2. You can meet some great people
Many competitions allow you to sign up as an individual and group you with other participants you have never met or barely know! This is a fantastic opportunity to refine your teamwork skills and learn more about your strengths and weaknesses in a team environment. On top of this, a lot of people use these case competitions as a method of networking, sometimes with the intention to meet senior executives if they win the competition.
3. Prizes are awesome
Most case competitions are sponsored by a company, and they provide you with some amazing prizes. There are competitions where winners are fast-tracked to interviews, some get cash, and some receive exclusive mentoring opportunities. You don’t want to miss out on some of these!
4. It can lead to new opportunities
Case competitions help frame your way of thinking, allowing you to develop employable skills across many industries. As you learn new business concepts and apply them into your strategy pitches, you are enhancing some of the most valuable skills in business. As an example, two of the greatest tools you can equip yourself with include critical thinking abilities, and boldness. Case competitions force you to think out of the box and deliver feasible and relevant solutions to companies. They find your solutions valuable, so if you are successful in case competitions, you can really show others that you would be a valuable employee. Of course, if you’re interested in consulting specifically, there’s no better place to start than participating in case competitions!
It’s quite hard to list all the reasons why I personally believe case competitions are great. I would really encourage everyone to try it for yourself at least once and see if you get anything valuable out of it. If you can, and if you’re interested, try as many as you can. As long as you put in the effort, I’m sure you’ll find it worthwhile!
What are some alternatives to case competitions?
If you have tried a few case competitions and they aren’t your cup of tea, there are some alternative competitions to get involved in.
Case cracks are essentially case competitions but completed in a shorter time frame. While competitions typically have a duration of one week, case cracks can be completed in the matter of hours, or a few days at most. This is ideal for people who are tight on time, or for those that want to further develop their skills between lengthier competitions.
There are some great societies in UNSW that allow students to take on real consulting experience by completing a consulting project. They are more long-term than case competitions but are great if you’re looking to complete a real project from beginning to end. You generally work directly with the business to create a solution that you know they want to implement. Of course, these are perfect opportunities for you to really refine some of your consulting skills! I’d recommend that everyone try them out, if possible.
Case Interview Resources
I’m adding this as an alternative because if you’re just looking for some ways to develop specific skills in acing your case interviews, www.caseinterview.com by ex-McKinsey Victor Cheng is a great website that includes so many free resources. I subscribed to his free daily newsletter, and I can truthfully tell you that each one of emails add a lot of value.
These are like case cracks, but with the element of coding. I won’t go into too much detail because we cover this in Part 1.
All the best!