A team of four Bloch School undergraduate students took second place at The University of Missouri – Saint Louis (UMSL) International Business Case Competition in April. Each year’s case is developed by a different multinational company exploring solutions to an existing international business challenge. The competition is judged by executives from company that wrote the case, along with other business executives in the community.
The Bloch team, comprised of Amanda Cook (B.S.A.), Thomas Flanagan (B.B.A., B.S.A.), Claire Hansel (B.S.A.) and JoAnna Muenks (B.B.A., B.S.A.), accompanied by faculty team advisor Michael Wizniak (MBA ’14), was assigned case that required researching and developing an entry strategy into Cuba for Enterprise Holdings Inc. Having no prior knowledge of the case details, teams were given 20 hours to develop a strategy, without assistance from their advisor, before presenting their recommendations to a panel of executives.
Following the first round of presentations, four finalists were chosen to compete in front of a new judge’s panel, consisting of executives from Enterprise Holdings, Inc., RR Donnelley and Metal Exchange Corporation. Between the first and second rounds, the faculty advisor was allowed to council the team to refine the presentation, though the team was required to use their original presentation slides.
After deliberation, the Bloch team was named the second place finisher behind Babson College. Through this challenging competition, the participating students learned hands on lessons about teamwork.
“I underestimated the importance of team dynamics,” said Cook. “I learned that open communication and honest dialogue is a prerequisite for a successful case team.”
And further, some team members were inspired to utilize this experience in their future profession.
“This case [competition] has further solidified my interest in a consulting career,” said Flanagan. “I have learned valuable lessons that I know I will be able to take with me into the professional workforce.”