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More than just bragging rights

Participants from the University of Manchester presenting at the CaseIT 2015 Finals. From Left to Right: Matt Rigby, Irina Fotache and Helen Collinson.

The University of Manchester took home first place last year at CaseIT 2015. Find out how participating in CaseIT has changed them and what they are up to now.

We caught up with Matt Rigby, Irina Fotache and Helen Collinson from the University of Manchester to see how they are doing a year after CaseIT and what tips they have for our incoming competitors to CaseIT 2016.

What was your experience like at CaseIT 2015?

Matt: One word, Fantastic! I can’t thank all the organizers and fellow University’s for one of the best weeks of my life. The competition was a brilliant experience and visiting such a fantastic city is an opportunity not to be missed.

Irina: The CaseIT experience was incredible and I consider it to be a true learning journey. The days of the competition made me push myself out of my own academic and personal comfort zone and achieve things I never thought I could, while gaining new friends along the way.

Helen: As I had never competed in a case competition before I had no real expectations for the experience, and as a team we planned to just enjoy our time and do the best using the skills we had developed during the training. In terms of the competition itself once we had met the other teams and learnt that they had far more experience than us we decided to just ‘have some fun’ and see what happened never thinking that we would get so far. When we received the case study we were really pleased as the content fitted well with our knowledge and skills. The 24 hours was a bit of a slog, we had a strict timetable to stick to including only 4 hours of sleep. After the first presentation had taken place there was a long wait to find out who would present in the final round, we took a very different approach to most of the other teams at this time who were manically practising and rehearsing. As we hadn’t learnt scripts for the Presentation this wasn’t needed! When I found out that we would be presenting in the final round the nerves definitely kicked in, but we were able to confidently answer all of the questions (mainly down to our 100s of backup slides!). It still came as a shock at the end of the day to find out that we had won, coming over to the Vancouver with so little expectations this was just the icing on the cake of a fantastic week! Outside of the competition itself the CaseIT team were amazing, in particular our team host Maheen and adopted team host Edwy. We were looked after well and taken to visit lots of interesting sites across Vancouver, I would now class them as good friends! In summary, CaseIT was an unexpectedly amazing experience and a privilege to share with my teammates, coach and new Canadian friends!

How has this experience impacted you since?

Matt: It helped me get a job, It developed how I approached cases and solved problems in a business environment but, most importantly, I made friends in places I’d never heard of before. Oh, and I’m now addicted to eggs benedict – but have yet to find a place that does them just as good!

Irina: The experience has definitely broaden my horizons when it came to case competitions and confidence in my own abilities, but more importantly gave me some of the most fun memories and rewarding times while being at uni. It was an experience I will never forget and the people I met along the way were just as unforgettable and made the whole journey so special.

Helen: Following CaseIT I have been able to apply many of the skills that I learnt during the training and the competition itself to both my university and working life. I have much more confidence when speaking and presenting, and also have developed my problem solving skills. The approach that our team took to the competition was so different to the other teams and also the training we had, so I think I have learnt that finding your own method of doing something is a good thing and not just to follow the crowd.

What are you up to now?

Matt: Working as an Interactive Experience Consultant for IBM

Irina: Working as a Business Analyst in IT at Credit Suisse.

Helen: I have now graduated from the University of Manchester with a first class honours in IT Management for Business. I started working at Accenture (a global technology consulting firm) in October 2015 as a Digital Analyst and I am currently working on an SAP implementation for a global car company.

What advice would you give to the incoming CaseIT 2016 participants?

Matt: Make the most of it! Enjoy every second, explore as many places in the city as you can and have fun whilst doing the case. It’s tiring, but thinking back, it’s one of the best experiences in my life!

Irina: The best advice I could give is make sure you make the most out of the experience. Yes, have as much fun as you can, meet amazing people, experience Vancouver as a fantastic city but also dedicate yourself to the challenge because those 24hrs, if you manage to truly focus on what’s given and deliver your presentation, will show you a whole side of you that you never knew you had.

Helen: Advice I would give to next years participants would be to just make the most of the experience! Obviously the competition aspect is important but making friends and exploring the city is just as important too. Be confident in the preparation that your team has done and don’t be afraid if what you are doing is different to other teams. After the deliberation period stick with your idea and when answering questions be honest and backup the ideas you have had. Finally make sure you try a Scoozies breakfast one day