Spotlight on #GoodmanSpirit: Five questions with the MBA Case Competition Team

Goodman School of Business

Spotlight on #GoodmanSpirit: Five questions with the MBA Case Competition Team

Do you have what it takes to compete against teams from Australia, Brazil, Israel, Finland, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Portugal, Netherlands, Sweden, Singapore, South Africa and the USA?

Our Goodman graduate students do.

Mangala Singh, Barry Riddell, Connor Ryan, and Jenna Dustanova represented Goodman at the John Molson International Case Competition, an annual multi-day case competition held in Montreal each January.

With the coaching support of Goodman faculty members Eric Dolanksy and Norman Chasse, the team competed in five cases in five days. Mangala, Connor and Jenna shared their thoughts on what it was like to compete on an international level.

1. Why did you decide to get involved with the John Molson International MBA Case Competition?

Jenna: Being a part of the JMCC team definitely gives students the opportunity to test and learn a lot about themselves in the process and prepare for challenges down the line. It is certainly a very rewarding experience. I could not have a better opportunity to apply my business knowledge gleaned from lectures and textbooks. JMCC’s cases serve as a hallmark of a business education as knowledge gained through different disciplines are transformed into skills.

Connor: I wanted to get involved in the case competition because of the unique experience that the competition offers. Competing against schools from all over the world was an opportunity that I knew I needed to be a part of. A competition of this size and prestige is something that you cannot simulate in the classroom.

Mangala: Two reasons: First of all, it provided me with an opportunity to use my MBA classroom skills into real world problem in the simulated business environment. Second of all, it provided a learning and networking opportunity with feedback from executives and international professionals from around the world.

2. Can you walk us through the case competition?

Connor: The competition is comprised of 36 teams divided into 6 divisions. You face off against every team in your division and the winner of each division advances to the semi-finals. There are also 3 wild card teams who advance to the semi-finals. Everyone is guaranteed at least 5 cases, with a maximum of 7 cases for the week.  

Mangala: The first round had four simulated cases and one live case. For each case, the preparation time was three hours. Following that, we presented the case. 

3. You participated in five cases: what was your favourite case?

Mangala: I liked every case. In every case, strategy was a common theme. However, they varied from marketing, global competition, merger & acquisition, and development of new business in Haiti.

Connor: My favorite case was the first case of the week. The reason it was my favorite was because we opened up the competition with a win over the University of Notre Dame. It was a great feeling to get win right at the beginning of the week.

4. This year’s theme of the John Molson International Case Competition was Global Connections, Global Impact. As an MBA student, did this theme resonate with you?

Mangala: These cases expanded my knowledge and provided opportunity to learn how to make a decision in a short time and defend it.

Connor: Global Connections was a big part of the entire experience. Meeting MBA students from all over the world was probably the most valuable part of the week. I still maintain contact with some of the people I was fortunate enough to meet. 

5. Any tips for our future John Molson MBA Team?

Jenna: Start practice sessions early! Discussion with the JMCC semi-finalists about a preparation for the case competition revealed that the top strong teams tend to start to prepare very early. Thus, the more you practice the better your chances are for success. Also, being familiar with various industries and industry trends is definitely an advantage as you never know which company a case is going to be based on.

Mangala: It is important to work as a team and support your team members' decisions. Decide each member’s role early and hone your preparation & presentation skills.

Connor: Get as many practices in as possible before you go. If you are struggling with a case during the competition, just remember that every other team will be struggling with the case just as much as you are.