Does locking yourself in a small room with a team for nearly 24 hours to work on a business challenge sound like a good time? Well, if it doesn’t, you’ve never experienced the excitement of the annual UW Graduate Marketing Network’s (GMN) Marketing Case Challenge.
Held every year the first week after winter break, the GMN Case Competition offers first-year MBA students the chance to apply their foundational business education learnings, teamwork skills, and creativity in a fast-paced competition. The case is given to students Thursday morning, with presentations given the following morning. The GMN provides crucial support in the form of food throughout the evening as teams prepare their analysis of the challenge and their proposed solution.
While the case focuses on a marketing challenge, students from many disciplines participated in the cross-functional teams this year. To succeed, teams had to provide financial reports, insights on the impact on manufacturing operations, and strategic analysis of the target industry, in addition to classic marketing analysis.
A number of corporate sponsors generously offered their time and resources to support the challenge, including serving as judges on several rounds of presentations. Every team received detailed feedback from the judges about how to improve, and we had the chance to get to know the judges and their backgrounds over several networking opportunities.
The Nielsen Center was well-represented in the competition. Every first-year student participated, and several students were members of the three finalist teams (including my team, Team Ascot!). As in the fabled “real world,” the case involved key limitations of information and time that not only added to the adrenaline of the competition, but also prepared us for realistic situations of defending ideas and making decisions. While I was thrilled to go home and sleep afterwards, I was also grateful for all the lessons I learned in these exciting 24 hours. Thank you to everyone who made this case possible!