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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Part I - How to win Case competitions

In total I've competed in four case competitions and this post will be about what I've learned from the experiences.I'll be focusing on what you can do as an individual to prepare as opposed to team. Recently I've managed to win 1st place in my third global IT case competition together with Larisa Gordetsky and Natasha Campbell. Interesting enough I'm majoring in Entrepreneurship and not MIS or any IS program. Regardless we've managed to have a very successful track record

Presentation Skills are KING
Case competitions are all about showing that you have the best recommendation. You are in a sales pitch competition. Whether you sink or swim is going to be all about your presentation skills.

Credit to Marcus Mccurdy

Strong presentation skills are absolutely essential. Your ability to communicate is a key determining factor for whether you win or not, just watch a few episodes of dragons den and you'll understand what I'm talking about. I didn't manage to win my first case competition and I attribute it to my poor presentation skills at the time. At the international level everyone will be coming up with great recommendations. Presentation skills can be a key differentiators to keep your recommendation in the judges mind over your competitors.

For all competitions I've participated in the judges usually have weighted decision criteria where content is weighed more heavily than presentation. That might give you the illusion that content is more important than presentation. However presentation is STILL super important as it will affect your score on content. If I'm a judge and I cant understand what your saying it will affect your evaluation on content.

How you improve your presentation skills is simple. You record yourself so you can see how bad you are for yourself, get your coach to give you feed back and practice every opportunity you get. You need to make a serious commitment to improve because it is not easy. At the minimum I was doing two presentations every week. Prior to my second case competition at Case IT 2012, I had joined and been a part of toast masters for a year. Every week I would go to toast masters after all my courses and practice my public speaking and get feed back to do better. When the competition rolled around our team practice would begin and we would do the same practice case presentations twice. The second time would always purely be focused on improving our presentation skills.

You can read part two here.

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