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Florida Intercollegiate Case Competition Coming Up in February

By Keith Morelli

Florida Intercollegiate Case Competition

TAMPA (Jan. 25, 2017) -- The Florida Intercollegiate Case Competition (FICC), hosted by the University of South Florida's Muma College of Business, is soon approaching and the field is expected to be full.

The event, in its 15th year, is scheduled for Feb. 24-25 and the field is made up of graduate students from USF, the University of Florida, Florida State University, Florida International University, and the University of Miami.

For the competition, each university sends a team of its brightest graduate students to take part in this prestigious academic challenge. The point: to have their names engraved on the "CUP" - the Stanley Cup type award - they, as the winning team, will bring back to their campuses to proudly put on display until the competition next year.

In the competition, students work on a "live case," a situation facing a real company dealing with real-time strategic and/or operating challenges.

Participating companies in the past have included both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations.  Those include the Tampa Riverwalk Project, Coca-Cola, Tampa's Alpha House, General Motors, the PGA Tour, the Hillsborough Education Foundation, Walt Disney Company, and Anheuser Busch.  At last year's intercollegiate competition, Ashley Furniture, the largest furniture manufacturer in the world, served as the subject company. Which business is signed up for this year is and will remain a secret, unveiled to the students only at the outset of the competition.

USF stages four case competitions each year, two for senior USF undergraduates (fall and spring semesters), one for USF graduate business students (fall semester) and the FICC in February. The winning team from the fall Muma College of Business graduate case competition competes for USF against the other schools.

For students, the case competitions offer a unique professional opportunity to take on a serious business challenge in a stressful setting. The benefits include a real-world challenge and an insightful learning experience, an excellent networking opportunity, a separate-you-from-the-crowd résumé entry and a financial award for each member of the winning team.

Often, individual students receive job or internship offers from the subject company as a result of the case competition experience.

Companies participating in the event get an outsider's perspective and set of ideas on their operations.  Executives also get a chance to observe, in action, and potentially recruit, some of the best business students in Florida.

Participating subject companies are offered two possible participation options. The first enlists a USF Muma College of Business faculty member to prepare a generic case study on the company. The students' job in this scenario is to identify and offer practical and feasible solutions to what they feel are the most important issues facing the organization.

The second option requires more involvement for the company but leads to more customized feedback and recommendations. This is where company executives present the specifics of a challenge, or set of challenges, facing their company to the students and ask them to come up with a set of practical and feasible strategies, tactics and an implementation scheme which might successfully address the case questions.

Also a tradition of the program: the Muma College of Business hosts a semi-formal dinner for the current judges, past judges and companies, the various universities' faculty representatives, and other dignitaries from the university and business communities.  Past dinners have served 70-80 individuals.