One of my goals this year was to step out of my comfort zone and participate in things people wait a few years in university before doing. Last weekend, KPMG and the Case Competition Club hosted a competition for first year’s and second year’s. My team (three first-year’s) got to KPMG’s downtown office tower bright and early on Saturday morning. We had some breakfast and got a tour of their humongous multi-floored office. After we were given a conference room with an awesomely huge whiteboard that covered an entire wall, we started on the “cracking” the case.
Basically we had three hours to plow through, in this case, a 15-page long case on a company, identify the major problems it faces (such as corporate culture, organizational structure, global expansion, demographic shifts etc. etc.), come up with solutions/implementations/risks, and create a powerpoint presentation. Then we had to do a 15 minute presentation to KPMG judges as well as endure an intense Q&A period.
You’re probably thinking at this point, what the heck, people do this for FUN?! Shush, we’re commerce-majors, we powerpoint and party like there’s no tomorrow.
Before I even get to the presentation, I have to say that the prep part was absolutely NERVESWRECKING. Three hours may seem like a lot of time, but 1/3 of that was just reading the case. It didn’t help that the case was about an international wine distributor, which was a completely foreign topic to us underage kids XD. Don’t get me started on oddity that is wine names (Banrock Station and Kelly’s Revenge anyone? Yep they’re wine brands)! However, it is rather amazing how efficient we were working under stress. We soon had filled up the entire 2m x 4m white board with diagrams, flowcharts, maps, and mock ppt slides. It then occured to us in our self-congratulatory euphoria that we had about 30 minutes to synthesize everything that was on the board into a professional-looking presentation and come up with intelligent-sounding things to say. Somewhere along the way we lost track of time and was reminded that there was OMG 5 MINUTES LEFT when we thought we had at least fifteen.
I was responsible for the powerpoint. Wow, I have never finished one so fast in our life.
The presentation room is set up like a classroom – a projector screen at the front with a table, some walking room, and a few rows of tables facing forward. We walked in in our business suits, shook hands with the four judges, and cued up the powerpoint.
- The group member in charge of the introduction wrote it out and memorized it, making us seem very relaxed and confident at the beginning =D
- No PPT crashes, font was legible, template was a nice blue
- Everyone generally knew what they were talking about
- Perfect for the time limit
- I said a lot of “um….”s which I wasn’t even aware of; now I am haha
- The PPT seemed really bare
- Our solutions may have been too drastic for the company’s liking
- Didn’t have a chance to answer one of the judge’s questions – time was up, maybe this should go under Good?
The ugly (hey Im honest!)
- Total dead air at one point because of the extensive amount of abbreviations/short hands on the PPT resulted in lack of comprehensibility
Congratulations to Uvini and al. who won, and two year 1s who got honourable mention! We had lunch after the presentation (gotta love competition food!) and mingled a little with the judges. Was the almost-reaching-stress-breaking-point worth it? Only time will tell =D In the mean time, Crack the Case was just a little taste of the business world to come.