Last month, a team of four Fox School juniors took a road trip to the University of Missouri-St. Louis to compete in the 2018 International Business Case Competition. They placed second and returned to Temple with a cash prize of $500.
The Fox School team—consisting of students Tyler Ascione, Sonali Patel, Nathan Pham, and Tarun Sangari—was one of the 12 teams to participate in the live competition sponsored by Nidec Motor Corporation and judged by business leaders from the St. Louis area. The challenge focused on developing strategies for the Japanese company to position, sell, and introduce its new FORECYTE sensors used for monitoring the vibrations and temperature of motors. The team was given the case Friday evening, and had to develop strategies and provide two rounds of presentations to the judges the next day. It was a hectic 24 hours.
“We had to figure out how to consolidate our ideas and put together a cohesive PowerPoint deck within the 24-hour time limit,” the team said. “In the first four hours, we individually researched and tried to get a holistic understanding of Nidec’s business model and the ‘Industrial Internet of Things’ industry. The next six hours, we wrote our ideas on a blackboard and deliberated our strategy. After dinner, we were all extremely fatigued, and did not have a single slide ready. However, at around midnight, we found a second wind. We began motivating each other, and our energy showed through the slides.”
The team ultimately developed a prize-winning recommendation for Nidec.
“Our solution was multi-faceted,” the team said. “First, we recommended they license out its new sensor technology to MROs (maintenance, repair, and overhaul) and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers). Then, for the next five years, we recommended they collect and analyze the data aggregated from those MROs and OEMs. Once the firm had a sufficient level of data, we suggested opening up a new line of revenue: providing insights to OEM and MRO clients. These insights would give the firms a better way to manage their human capital and assess business needs. To maintain security, we considered a distributed ledger technology, providing a way to record digital interactions that are highly resistant to outages.”
4 Most Valuable Lessons Learned
1. “The greatest lesson I learned was to accurately assess and portray different qualitative options with a quantitative model. I had struggled with recommending businesses to pursue different strategies, but I have since gained the tools to quantify the strength of one strategy over another.” – Tyler Ascione, Finance and Management Information Systems double major
2. “Participating in my first case, the greatest lesson I learned is how important it is to decide on a strategy that everyone agrees on and be able to present. It is important to ensure the strategy is a success by conducting a lot of research and having data. It took us a lot of effort to put together the case. However, at the end of the day we all worked as a team and had fun!” – Sonali Patel, Finance major
3. “My lesson was the power of teamwork and team chemistry. We were given a tough case with limited data about a new product from the company. It took us 10 hours to come up with an outline and a general strategy. By then, we were all very tired. But once we came together, each of us tried to motivate each other by talking and even joking around. It seemed trivial but some late-night laughs helped a lot in keeping us up and finishing the presentation. Because we liked each other and understood unique strengths of each team member, we were able to overcome difficult challenges and have a lot of fun along the way.” – Nathan Pham, Management Information Systems major, Finance minor
4. “The greatest lesson I learned from the case was how important it is to tell a story with your numbers. While having a ton of great data is very helpful to support your argument, having the ability to analyze that data and present it in an interesting manner is far more important than anything else.” – Tarun Sangari, Finance and Accounting double major
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