Crack the Case: A Review on Presentations

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending Case Competition Club’s “Crack the Case” Competition, as creative marketing director, hosted by KPMG.

There were around 18 teams that applied, and only 7 accepted into the competition. Originally, I had planned on applying for the competition, but I’m glad that I got to do timekeeping instead.

Timekeeping sounds like such a simple task, and it was, essentially. However, what was great about the role was only that it was simple, but also that I could watch the entire presentation and judging process. That being said, I took down a lot of notes on what the judges looked for, and what they looked for in a presentation.

General format of the competition: 4 hours prep, 10 minute practice, 15 minute presentation, 10 minute Q&A, 5 minute judge review.

Judge’s specific criteria (based upon memory): PowerPoint, content, presentation skills, recommendations, and Q&A.

While these are general guidelines to the presentation, the judging really didn’t come down to the marks chosen based on the criteria. Analysis had to be concise; recommendations required back-up evidence; implementations had to be realistic in terms of manpower, cost, and time.

Finally, one of the most important aspects of the case was the presentation. I took down some notes after each presentation and judge’s debrief and compiled it to the information below:


  • DO have some sort of chart (i.e. flow) outlining your  problems & solutions
  • DO have an implementation plan/timeline (Gantt Chart). It’s good to keep track of where you are in the presentation (timeline indicator)
  • DO limit on analysis, don’t just regurgitate all the facts. The judges have read the case.
  • DO cover the necessary materials, but do not speed through slides
  • Do NOT deface the company in any way (i.e. I like XX instead of yours)
  • DO present as if you were talking to a board of directors; you’re convincing them to “hire” you



  • Do NOT stick hands in your pockets, cross them over your chest, or clench them into fists.
  • DO make use of the space and move around
  • DO spread out members across the room
  • Don’t make hand movements too drastic or keep them too minimal (generally keep between shoulders and stomach)


  • If you have a heavy accent, SPEAK SLOWER! There were many participants who had accents but were great presenters.
  • If you don’t have an accent, still make sure to pace yourselves. Words can be lost when you speed through (less is more)
  • Address the “company”, not the “case”
  • Be engaging in your speech. Be convinced of your own words, or no one else will be convinced of them either. A charismatic speaker can be the defining point between winning presentations. Don’t sound staged or rehearsed either, because that automatically makes the speaker not as convincing
  • Spread parts out equally
  • Avoid these words: cuz, like, um, right, obviously, you, you know, I think, the case, kinda, wanna, gonna, um, you guys.*

*To put this into perspective, I made tallies on the last two groups of the times they said a particular word. A few fibs are okay, but there is a definite boundary to what is acceptable and what is just purely distracting and superfluous.

You know like Um/uh Wanna/gonna Kind of/kinda You guys
9 1 13 3 2 1
4 / 6 / / /
/ / / 3 1 /
/ / / 1 / 1
13 1 19 7 3 2
You know like Um/uh Wanna/gonna Kind of/kinda You guys
/ / 12 / / /
/ / 20 / / /
/ / 27 / / /
/ 8 30 / / /
/ 8 89 / / /

About Valerie Song

CEO & Co-Founder at AVA Smart Garden | Entrepreneur trained by #1 CPGs.

28. November 2010 by Valerie Song
Categories: Insight | Leave a comment

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