In the competitions, students work on a "live case": a situation facing a company dealing with real-time strategic and/or operating challenges and opportunities. For the in-house competitions, students apply for one of 20-30 slots in the competition. A team of faculty selects the top students from the applicant pool, who then form 4-6 teams of five students each.
Each year there are four competitions.
- Undergraduate competitions are scheduled in both the fall and spring semesters.
- The Graduate competition is held during the fall.
- The Intercollegiate competition is held each spring.
Benefits for Students
From a student perspective, the case competitions offer a unique, and personally challenging, professional opportunity to take on a business challenge in a stressful setting. Key student take-aways include a terrific learning experience and challenge, an excellent networking opportunity, a "separate you from the crowd" resume entry and a financial award (historically $500.00) for each member of the winning team. Oftentimes too, individual students receive job or internship offers from the subject company as a result of this experience.
Benefits for Companies
From a subject case company's standpoint, the competitions offer a professional, outsider's perspective and set of ideas on their company, and also represent an opportunity to observe in action, and potentially recruit, some of the best business students in Florida.
We offer prospective subject case companies two possible participation options. The first is the easiest for the subject case company, where faculty at the USF Muma College of Business prepares a "generic" case study on the company. The students' job in this scenario is to identify the most important issue(s) facing the organization. A second option for the competition involves more work for the subject company, but leads to more customized feedback and recommendations. This is where one or more company executive(s) presents the specifics of the case to the students on the Friday morning of the competition. This allows subject companies to have the student teams focus on any particular strategic or operating issue they desire.
While we encourage all subject company representatives to attend the Friday morning case unveiling, the custom case option allows company representatives an additional opportunity to interact with the student teams and ensure that the focus of the teams' analyses and presentations is on the most desirable issue(s) raised in the case.
Additionally, we host a semi-formal dinner on the Friday evening of the competition for the current judges, past judges and companies, universities' faculty representatives, and other dignitaries from the university and business community. Spouses or significant others are, of course, invited. Past dinners have served 70-80 individuals.