a UNSW Business Society official publication
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Case Cracks - A Breakdown
Written by Naditha Jayanetti
Date Published: 13/06/2020
Can you imagine a world without problems? A world where we don’t need to create solutions to overcome different and unique challenges? I can’t, and neither can businesses. But you may ask, “What kind of challenges may I face in the business world?”
Luckily, case cracks are the one-stop-shop in university (quite literally) to tackle a real industry problem and get a real taste of the business world!
What are Case Cracks
In a case crack, students will be engaged in a problem-solving activity that can range from a few minutes to several hours, or possibly even longer. Provided with a problem, teams of 3-4 members must collaborate to analyse and propose a viable yet impactful solution. Each team will then present their proposal to a judging panel. The presentations do not always require a slide deck, and sometimes teams may be allowed to write on paper or a whiteboard to use as a visual aid.
Case Cracks vs Case Competitions
Cracks are much shorter than competitions! Case cracks have a relatively shorter duration and often take place in one sitting. Case competitions, however, tend to provide longer deadlines (such as 1 week).
Most crack presentations do not require a slide deck or PowerPoint whereas competitions do. In saying this, sometimes teams in a case crack may be allowed to write on paper or a whiteboard to use as a visual aid. You should always check with organisers to ensure the challenges that you will face, and the skills you may need to brush up on.
Cracks are intense activities! The short duration of a crack encourages a constant full-on effort, as opposed to the spread-out workload of a case competition. But don’t be intimidated – this high intensity is often what makes cracks so thrilling and memorable!
How to approach a Case Crack
Case cracks are daunting and nerve-wracking, but just a few tips can put you on track for success.
Do your research! Much like anything else, doing research beforehand gives you a huge advantage in tackling a case crack. This research may be on the company holding the event, or the certain industry they cover, or more broadly, the current business news. You will find research useful since most cases are derived from current news or relevant industry problems
Read individually first. Upon beginning the crack, read the case brief and any information provided individually first, before coming together as a team and collaborating. An approach like this will allow teams to observe the problem from a macroscopic view while ensuring that the understanding of the brief is consistent among team members.
Strategising is your proposal’s foundation. When creating a solution to the case, your team should outline the key components that will be discussed in your presentation. This may include issue analysis, the strategy, and its impacts, which can be broken down into further components. For those familiar with storyboarding, this is essentially the case crack equivalent.
Divide and conquer! After strategising, make use of each of your strengths. Divide the components and presentation amongst your team so that there is no overlapping content and your limited time is spent efficiently. For example, if you are good at numerical and financial analysis, it should be your task to do some or all of the calculations required to support your proposal.
Be aware of the time! It is easy to forget about the time while you're cracking a case, so ensure that one of your team members, if not all, are keeping track of how much time is left, and giving regular updates. A useful tactic is to allocate a timekeeper from your team and determine a work plan prior to starting.
Practice makes perfect. Most cracks will involve a presentation component where your team has a limited duration to present. Therefore, during the cracking phase, determine how much time each person should speak for, and allow ample buffer time during your “cracking” period to practice your speech component.
What’s in it for me?
Prizes! Most case cracks will include prizes for the winning team. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t like prizes?
Develop your skills. Case cracking will push you to challenge yourself and your current skill sets and develop even further. You will be working under pressure, managing your time, performing a problem analysis and applying analytical thinking to solve a case as a team. Presenting in front of judges provides a public speaking opportunity – a transferrable skill for any field!
A case crack is a genuine experience. Participating in a case crack allows you to talk about what you and your team overcame in the cracking process, and what skills you drew out of the experience.
Now, you’re probably wondering, where do I sign up? You will find case cracks being advertised by BSOC on our page or Facebook, and many other societies on their platforms. Keep an eye out for these, and if you have any questions, please feel free to message us on our page.