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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Part II - Preparing for case competitions; How to learn everything you need to win a case competition

Part II - IT Knowledge for Case Competition

Not understanding IT enough to compete would be the first fear and challenge I needed to overcome. However, this is probably the easiest hurdle to overcome as all you need to develop is a habit of 'continuous professional development'.  You can learn everything you need to know to compete if you give yourself enough time to learn it all. Approaching it like a final exam is the wrong approach for a case competition. In the competition you are supposed to be applying what you know, not learning new concepts.

Ask your coach or professor for material to read and I'm sure they can feed you dozens of great white papers to learn from. What was important though in the deluge of all the reading I was provided with was learning how IT solved business problems. The technical details of how it all works is of secondary importance as you can figure it out through further reading or research. What is important is to learn and memorize how IT can or has been used to solve different business problems. That way when your identifying critical issues in cases your mind will instantly start recalling solutions that have worked for other companies in the past. Knowing that your using a similar solution that worked for a real life previous company can also give you that presentation confidence.

But there is so much to learn !

 To streamline your learning though for competitions I recommend you start with the top 10 trends of the year for what ever area of business you are competing in. For me it was in IT and I refereed to Gartners top 10 CIO Business and Technology Priorities in 2013.

Part III on emotional management can be read here.


  1. Great insight. And I also just wanna add, this is exactly the advantage students at top "Ivey" League schools have over everyone else, along with their large networks. Case studies are a great way to learn about what works and what doesn't, they provide a window of invaluable information on implementation and results in the real world. Case studies aren't just applicable in competitions, but in any management position your looking to take on in the future, you may be able to bring forward a solution to a problem, knowing full well how successful it's been in the past; and this could lead to further promotions & success.

    1. I definitely agree that case studies represent a fantastic opportunity to learn. They become especially valuable when you can present your ideas to industry professionals who can critique it and help provide you with a better understanding.

  2. Thanks very much Stevie, for publishing your thoughts on competing in case competitions. Very insightful!

    It was great to meet you guys at CaseIT 2013, but less great to be in direct competition with you in the heats! Still, we learned a great deal from the competition that we will put into practice before next time. Thanks again!

    1. Glad you found it to be a good read ! Hopefully see you again in the future.