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The Big 10 Case Competition, or My Version of March Madness

By Stephen Colleton

April 12, 2022

photo of UW's case competition team

The Fisher Invitational, or more colloquially known as the Big 10 Case Competition, is one of the many amazing opportunities one can experience as a student at the Wisconsin School of Business. Unlike some of the other case competitions on campus, this competition is a bit more selective. The MBA and Master’s Program Office selects only a few students from the first-year MBA class to represent Wisconsin in competition against many of the other Big 10 schools. Five of us were selected from a variety of different majors and I was certainly proud to represent the Strategic Human Resource Management specialization this year!

Stephen Colleton
Stephen Colleton

The competition provided a unique opportunity to work with a real business; the judges were executives from the company itself waiting to hear our suggestions on how to resolve some of their most difficult business concerns. This year’s challenge was especially exciting, allowing us the opportunity to work with a truly global company headquartered in India! With only 23 hours to strategize, plan, develop, and present a solution to a complex problem, the four other members of the team and I immediately got to work. We were really grateful that we started preparing over a month before the competition in meetings with previous case competition participants from the second-year class, and our designated communication coach who provided invaluable guidance on how to deliver our presentations and how to create our slide deck.

I have to say that the most meaningful thing I took away from this experience was the opportunity to think about business in a completely different way. The cultural norms and business acumen I generally took for granted were exposed when the company we were working on was not located in the United States. This global mindset is an increasingly valuable skill in the marketplace as companies seek to become more global to connect with new markets, enhance their products, and drive innovation as the world grows smaller with time.

The Wisconsin School of Business once again did very well in the competition and our team was happy to take home second place overall in the competition this year! I want to give a tremendous shout-out to Bethany Noltner, who was a fantastic source of wisdom and advice for the competition as she represented Human Resources last year in the competition! You can check out her insights. Hopefully, someone reading this will continue the Strategic HR tradition and make some great friends and develop their business talents along the way.