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UCD Quinn School students take top prizes at UConn Case Competition

  • Date: Thu, Nov 19, 2020

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A group of four UCD Quinn School students were invited by the University of Connecticut to take part in the new, virtual University of Connecticut International Business Case Challenge Competition. This was the first time a group from UCD has entered the competition.

All in their Bachelor of Commerce final year, the four students competing for UCD were Ruairi McCormack, Kayley Curtis, Leona Xin Chen and Rachel Meehan. Along with their teams, Ruairi placed first and Kayley placed third, in the elite competition. In addition, Leona was awarded best presenter in the preliminary round and Ruairi was awarded best presenter in the final round.

In a novel approach, the competition was completed online and teams were comprised of individuals from different universities across the globe, rather than the traditional format of one university entering a team to compete against other university teams. This experience enabled a truly blended and global experience for the students.

“Through a time of unprecedented change, it is great to see our students having the spirit and ambition, as well as making the space, to enter this competition,” said Director of UCD Quinn School Maeve Houlihan.

“Our students competed on a world stage, where they could benchmark themselves against students from around the globe, and then went on to succeed at the highest level. It is a truly outstanding achievement and we are deeply proud of them for being great ambassadors of UCD and Ireland.”

The competition presented teams with a business challenge which they needed to solve and present within 3 weeks, in addition to existing academic requirements. Ruairi’s team, CRK Consulting, was presented with developing a growth strategy for Careem—a MENA-based taxi-hailing service—looking to grow. The team succeeded in developing a plan that found strategic fits with existing businesses, recommending target markets for expansion, super app consideration and more.

“It was an exciting competition and certainly helped to develop skills that will be immediately transferrable to the workplace,” said Ruari, whose team placed first. “We were asked to really consider our solutions across broad topics, including a focus on sustainability and new agendas.”

“I can see how appropriate the term international business case is, and how much intercultural insight and business opportunity was gleaned and brought to the analysis,” continued Director Houlihan. “From small, big things like app filters and embedding differing cultural realities, to big, big things like the impact and opportunities for women, navigating different cultural values and clarity of a service mission; the breadth of business opportunities the team mapped together is a very commendable piece of work.”

For Rachel, it was her first time competing in a case competition.

“In the beginning, you wonder if you are at the same standard as students from other international universities,” she said. “But once you begin working together, that initial fear fades and you realise that everyone has different strengths.”

Rachel’s team was comprised of students from the University of Queensland in Australia, Purdue University and University of Florida in the US, as well UCD in Ireland. The unique, virtual nature of the event mimicked how global teams learn to navigate even basic challenges like scheduling meetings across different continents. In this instance, teams met roughly 14 times over three weeks across time zones ranging from Brisbane to all parts of the US, as well as taking in Trento and Dublin.

UCD students were mentored by Paschal McNeill, Lecturer in Business Strategy and Business Simulation at UCD Quinn School.

“It was interesting to see how truly blended international groups navigated various points, especially differences between cultures,” said McNeill, who is also the module coordinator for Managing Service Operations and Applied International Business Project. “As the first virtual case competition of its kind, it presented new challenges, but remained ferociously competitive.”

“We are proud of this wonderful group who represented us so well on an international stage,” continued McNeill. “It is an opportunity of a lifetime and one that students can use to differentiate themselves and stand out as a candidate to future employers.”

Each student commented on the opportunity it presented to network with peers around the world and to further explore relevant global business challenges.

The full awards list can be viewed below.

Individual Awards

Best Presenters in the Preliminary Round:
Angela Poole – Florida State University
Leona Chen – University College Dublin
Valerie Cornelli – Purdue University

Best Presenter - Final Round
Ruairi McCormack – University College Dublin

Best Q&A – Final Round
Joey Lim – University of Queensland

Team Awards

1st Place – CRK Consulting – Chiara Cibelli – University of Trento, Caitlin Corey – Florida State University, Kelly Finn – University of Connecticut, Ruairi McCormack – UCD.

2nd Place – Global Assets – Matteo Chirofonte – University of Trento, Valerie Cornelio – Purdue University, Joey Lim – University of Queensland, Yvonne Zhou – University of Connecticut.

3rd Place – SMS Consulting – Nalin Batra – University of Queensland, Kayley Curtis – UCD, Fareesa Munch – Purdue University, Yasmin Paris – Florida State University

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