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CaseIT 2018

CaseIT Story – Sarah Moug

Reflecting on the role technology plays in our life is an interesting exercise.

Growing up, we’re taught about how the Industrial Revolution brought the global economy into high gear; in keeping up with the news, we learn how the foundations of age old institutions of commerce are being shaken by agile, cloud-based business models; living our own lives, we use devices that give us incredible abilities to connect with others and access unimaginable amounts of information. Yet in the typical university setting, unless students seek opportunities that expose them to and build skill sets for the growing digital and technological economy, they’ll find themselves lagging further behind than a dial-up modem trying to race a Bitcoin miner. CaseIT is such an occasion to become fluent in technology trends that are changing the world we know, while creating value for clients in a business context. Last year, I had the pleasure to represent UBC’s Sauder School of Business at CaseIT 2017, learning about the magic and challenges technology presents us with while spending time with ambitious people from around the world.

As someone who had prior case experience through both my studies and other case competitions, one of the greatest challenges I faced during training and the competition was changing my approach to cases to suit the CaseIT style. As technological innovation is a primary focus of the competition’s scorecard, how to feasibly integrate a technology solution that is innovative and can take the client to the next level was constantly looming in my mind anytime we approached a problem as a team. It unraveled all I had previously known about cases, requiring me to rebuild my case framework from scratch. But learning to be uncomfortable with a problem pushes you to stretch your thinking, work as a team, and learn as much as you can about the technological ecosystem your problem exists in, ultimately leading to a stronger solution. This is what innovative companies are doing across industries in order to challenge the status quo and deliver to clients and consumers, particularly as technology takes on a ubiquitous role in our world. Though my approach was far from perfect, having supportive teammates with different perspectives helped me become a better competitor.

The challenges we faced, either individually or as a team, all fell away when we came to the competition. My fondest memories of CaseIT were unrelated to the case, though the case was at the center of us all: what I remember most are the friends I made throughout the competition. Whether it was over drinks at an organized social, while showing off Vancouver to out-of-towners, or in the waiting room for the next round of the competition, the people defined the experience. Despite where we came from, be it Brussels, Singapore, or Madison, Wisconsin, the camaraderie amongst “competitors” was tangible, creating an atmosphere that fostered respect and support for one another during presentation day, and forged friendships that carried over geographies.

Until I started as an analyst at a management consulting firm, I didn’t realize how much CaseIT had prepared me for my first job after graduation. On the job, skills I use like analyzing a problem and its subsets, structuring out a solution with my team, and delivering a succinct presentation to the client can be linked back to my preparation for CaseIT. Beyond professional skills, CaseIT reminded me of the importance of building community in a working environment and getting to know one another beyond one’s everyday work. This has contributed to me being able to quickly adjust to my company’s culture, and develop friendships with the people I work with.

My advice to future CaseIT competitors is three-fold:

1. Behind every strong solution is a stronger team.

Don’t expect to go into the case room and come out with a brilliant slide deck and presentation 24 hours later without getting to know your teammates first. Understand one another’s working styles, know strengths and weaknesses within the group, and be friends first. That way, when things get tough under pressure and on little sleep, you’ll be able to focus on creating something you’re all proud of rather than getting caught up in minute issues that won’t mean much an hour later.

2. Understand your client and what they’re looking for.

In tech, it’s hard not to get caught up in the latest trend and try to force the client’s business to fit the picture. Each client is different, and transformation is difficult for any organization, regardless of its size. A simple but well-communicated solution will add more value than a complex megatrend that is irrelevant to the needs of the business.

3. Be present.

There aren’t many opportunities in life to meet people from around the world and nerd out for a week in one of the greatest cities in the world. Get to know the people around you, both competitors and the organizing committee, and I can guarantee it will be a week you’ll Very Realistically/Always Remember.

Originally from the prairies of Northern Alberta, Sarah is lucky enough to call Vancouver “home” after 4 years of studies at the University of British Columbia. She crossed the stage last May with a commerce degree specializing in Business Technology Management from the Sauder School of Business, along with a treasure trove of memories, including CaseIT 2017. A weekend warrior in training, when not living her best life as a consulting analyst at Accenture, she can be found playing in the local mountains, strolling around Granville Island, and running through the famous Vancouver rain.

CaseIT Story – Qi Wen

CaseIT 2018 is around the corner!

This week, we have taken a step back to look at past years of CaseIT. We got in touch with previous competitor, Qi Wen to talk about his experience with CaseIT and how CaseIT has impacted his life!
A participant of CaseIT 2016

Meet Wong Qi Wen

He vividly remembers swearing off any computing-related studies back in his pre-university days – famous last words. Qi Wen graduated from Singapore Management University with a Bachelor of Science (Information Systems Management) degree and also led the sister competition APEX Business-IT Case Challenge in Singapore during his university days. Other than waiting for money to fall from the sky before he can visit Vancouver’s Granville Island, Whistler, and also to finally determine once and for all whether Earnest is truly better than Bella Gelateria, Qi Wen is also a Digital Customer Experience Consultant in Capgemini Southeast Asia and Hong Kong, primarily delving in digital transformation projects, creating solutions to help brands engage better with their customers through radical changes in their digital touchpoints.

LinkedIn

I first found out about CaseIT nearly 4.5 years ago...

... all the way in Singapore (a whopping 12,800km away!) whilst being part of the Organising Committee of APEX Biz-IT. I had the pleasure of interacting with a team from Simon Fraser University, and of course, Kamal Masri – then-coach of the SFU team. Imagine as a then-freshman, listening to these cool folks talking about how amazing Vancouver was, the thrills of competing against the best in a global case competition – I made it a mental bucket list that I had to head over to Vancouver to watch CaseIT at some point in my university life.

Funny how life turns out...

3 years on, I had the honour of working closely with Gwen Wong (Chair ‘15), Moses To (Chair ’16) and the rest of the CaseIT OCs through APEX, and an even greater honour to compete in CaseIT 2016. There’s something special about CaseIT – perhaps it’s the warmth of the OC and hosts, who go out of the way to make sure you feel at home. Or the air of friendliness of the city, that the sea, mountains and cityscapes are never far away from each other. Or the adrenaline in sitting with some of the brightest business-IT minds in the world, many of whom will no doubt be big players in their respective careers and companies when they graduate.

Or perhaps it’s all of the above...

and more. It is phenomenal for a team undergraduates to crack their heads for only 24 hours, arrive at a solution and create their ideal winning pitch. Some moments are unforgettable – walking up on stage and getting ready for the 15 minutes of presentation, realizing that you had 100 members in the audience mentally scrutinizing your content and presentation, faces scrunched up in concentration, faces with smiles wide as goal posts, faces of strangers-soon-to-be-friends.

I’ve since graduated...

from both case competitions and academia – to join the technology consulting world in an amazing company (Capgemini). Funny how life turns out – my in-person interview with Capgemini involved a case presentation after an hour’s worth of prep work (think CaseIT – but the prize being a career rather than presents), that my 2016 case was on a telecommunications company (after which I swore off telco-related topics) and somehow ended up being a telco SME in my business unit. CaseIT prepares you for the real world out there – when your boss(es) give you a business problem and 24 hours to make a solution/presentation, when your client(s) question your solutions, when you are up against time and feeling like the world is going on slow-motion around you. Even as I continue finding my way in the corporate world, the thrill of having to deliver a quality solution/pitch against competitors and time – that is exactly the kind of adrenaline I (and all of us) thrive on!

CaseIT has gone on leaps and bounds...

the business-IT case competition arena is like a massive global family, and CaseIT has been leading the charge for undergraduates around the world for the past 15 years, inspiring competitions like APEX Biz-IT, competitors, organizing committee members, and future digital leaders of the world. I look forward to the next 15 years of CaseIT – and till we meet again soon, Vancouver!

Meet Our Competitors

This year CaseIT is so excited to be hosting 16 fantastic universities. Each  prestigious  school has a competitive team ready to take on CaseIT 2018! As we all already know a fair bit about CaseIT we want to take a step back and learn a little more about each school! Select a school to see an interesting fact we found!

Université libre de Bruxelles

Bruxelles, Belgium

This university's notable alumni includes 5 Nobel Prize winners!

They are:
Henri La Fontaine: Nobel Prize for Peace in 1913.
Jules Bordet: Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1919.
Albert Claude: Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1974.
Ilya Prigogine: Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1977.
François Englert: Nobel Prize in Physics in 2013.

Corvinus University of Budapest

Budapest, Hungary

The main building of the university used to be the Customs House of Budapest. It was designed by one of the most famous Hungarian architects, Miklós Ybl, and it is now part of the UNESCO Heritage Sites.

University of Calgary

Calgary, Canada

This school is its province’s first Fair Trade Campus. This means that Fair Trade products, drinks, and food are available in many places across campus and the school is devoted to education about Fair Trade.

Chulalongkorn University

Bangkok, Thailand

This university’s school color is pink; the color symbolizes Tuesday, the day King Rama V, who the school owes its name, was born. King Rama V is remembered for protecting his people from colonisation.

HEC Montréal

Montréal, Canada

HEC Montréal was the first school in North America to be awarded AMBA, AACSB International and EQUIS accreditations. Less than 70 business schools in the world (on more than 13,000), and only two in Canada, hold those three prestigious and international accreditations.

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Hong Kong, Hong Kong

The HKUST library owns a collection of old maps of China and the rest of Asia, produced by Chinese and Western cartographers over the last 500 years!

Indiana University

Bloomington, USA

Indiana University was established in 1820 which means it is almost 200 years old!

Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Vancouver, Canada

When this university was formed, there were more than 200 suggestions in a contest to name it. The winning entry “Kwantlen” was submitted. “Kwantlen” comes from the name of the Kwantlen First Nation in whose traditional territory the university is located.

Wilfrid Laurier University

Waterloo, Canada

This university is named in honour of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the seventh Prime Minister of Canada who appears on the front of Canada's five dollar bill.

University of Minnesota

Minneapolis, USA

This school prides itself in helping to invent the pacemaker. In 1958, an alumni of this school tested his battery-powered pacemaker in the school’s lab, a day later it was used to save a child’s life.

National University of Singapore

Singapore, Singapore

This university is home to a museum which houses over 8000 artifacts and artworks. Collections include classical Chinese and Indian materials as well as contemporary Southeast Asian and Singaporean art.

Queen's University

Kingston, Canada

Founded on 16 October 1841 via a royal charter issued by Queen Victoria, the university predates Canada's founding by 26 years.

RMIT University

Melbourne, Austrailia

This university has three campuses in Melbourne, Australia, two campuses in Vietnam and a centre in Barcelona, Spain.

Ryerson University

Toronto, Canada

This is the first university in its province of Ontario to be presented with the Eagle Staff, a traditional spiritual instrument that recognizes the school’s effort to cultivate a strong, holistic support system for Aboriginal students.

Tecnológico de Monterrey

Monterrey, Mexico

This school has 31 campuses located across Mexico as well as 19 branches abroad. In 2015 this school had over 90 000 students, thats more than 10% of the population of Vancouver!

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

Wisconsin, USA

This university has over 230 organizations for students to get involved!

Catching Up With CaseIT Alumni

In CASE you weren’t aware…

…the upcoming CaseIT2018 will be CaseIT’s fifteenth year. This means that every year for the past fourteen years, ambitious business students from around the world congregated in Vancouver for one week to be challenged in the field of Information Technology and Business.

At the same time, CaseIT organizing committees are fully dedicated into planning and executing a high-caliber international competition. We caught up with Ginny Hsiang and Cyrus Wong, executives from previous CaseIT organizing committees,  to talk about CaseIT and what they loved about the competition.

Meet Cyrus Wong

Cyrus Wong is currently in his fourth year of study at the Beedie School of Business. He is majoring in Management Information Systems and Human Resources. Cyrus has been involved with CaseIT for three years, and hosted schools, such as: National University of Singapore, University of Minnesota, and Texas Christian University. As a proactive individual, he has also competed in the JDC West Case Competition, and recently finished studying abroad at the Korea University Business School.

LinkedIn

Meet Ginny Hsiang

Ginny Hsiang is currently a 4th year student at the Beedie School of Business. She is concentrating in Marketing and International Business, with a minor in International Studies. She has been involved with CaseIT for two years, and hosted RMIT in 2016. Ginny has an avid interest in case competitions and management consulting, as a both a participant and an organizing committee member. She is currently involved in JDC West as the SFU Captain, and was a participant of the International Case Competition at Maastricht in May 2017.

LinkedIn

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEMORY WITH THE OC?

GINNY: It was definitely the time spent at competition. The entire week of competition is the result of months of hard work, and it is incredibly exhilarating to see it all come to life. In 2016, I wasn’t sure of what to expect because it was my first taste of CaseIT, but 2017 was extremely rewarding because I was able to actually piece together parts of the event through my logistics. The week you spend executing the competition brings you closer to the OC in ways that can’t be replicated elsewhere, and the memories that you make are irreplaceable.

CYRUS: My favourite memory working with my OC team were the team socials. Our team was very close-knit and we had a family-like culture. We would have socials where we went out for all-you-can-eat sushi, as well as an annual scavenger hunt in downtown. It was wonderful how cohesive our culture was considering that our team was very diverse, containing students from different faculties.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE COMPETITION MEMORY

GINNY: It was very rewarding to see the team I hosted in 2016 present, and being able to be their CaseIT and Vancouver ambassador. Although they didn’t win the competition, I am still friends with my team to this day. I have a lot of SFU Beedie School of Business pride, and it was great to share with them parts of our beautiful city and the fruits of our labour.

CYRUS: My favourite memory about the competition was the signature Discover Vancouver event. This is where the Team Hosts would take the international case competitors to major tourist attractions in Vancouver. At CaseIT2015, I had the opportunity to host both the National University of Singapore, and the University of Minnesota. Through this event, I bonded with both teams, and till this day, we still keep in touch! Through CaseIT, I had the opportunity to establish connections with students from all around the world.

WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST TAKE AWAY FROM WORKING ON THE OC?

GINNY: Enjoy the moment, because it’s fleeting. It’s easy to get caught up in details and logistics of putting together the event, but be proud that you are representing a name with nearly two decades of history build on the foundation of hard work from students. No matter what happens, the event will not be perfect. What matters is the competitor experience, and that they are enjoying a well-organized competition. The time you spend with CaseIT will never feel like enough, and you should expect to have lots of withdrawals.

CYRUS: My biggest take away from working on the OC were transferable skills that I gained, such as: organization skills, interpersonal skills, and event-planning skills. In organizing the largest MIS case competition in the world, there definitely is a lot to learn. I developed these skills through my role as the Director of Entertainment and Hospitality. Some of my responsibilities included: negotiating and securing contracts for accommodations, seeking entertainment venues, and organizing catering for the competition.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE THIS YEAR’S OC?

GINNY: There is something magical about the process of putting together the event. Believe in your team, and in the ability of a group of people to collectively organize an event that is the best reflection of the SFU Beedie spirit. And always wear your CaseIT badge proudly!

CYRUS: Step outside of your comfort zone and bond with the international participants. It’s not every day that you get to meet bright people from Singapore, Europe, Mexico, and other countries. If you ever travel to these countries, you never know who may be able to host you!

Being a Team Host challenged me in the best way

This past weekend I was involved with BASS FROSH, which was one of the orientation events for our incoming students to the Beedie School of Business. One of the key messages of the whole orientation is make the most of one’s undergraduate career. Find something that you are passionate about or want to learn more about. In fact the FROSHees had an opportunity to learn more about the student-run organizations at Beedie and how they could get involved. They went on to play the recap video of last year and immediately a flood of memories came flowing in.

I remember my time as a team host for CaseIT and meeting my team for the first time. They were arriving a few days earlier from Indonesia just to sight-see. Confession time: I’m actually quite an awkward person. I may seem very extroverted most of the time but when it comes to meeting new people, I’m quite reserved. Unfamiliar with the culture and unsure of what they were like, I essentially was going in blind. Now thinking back, how I overreacted. Once they arrived, we quickly were able to share and bond together.

Ricky (left) with Team from Bandung Institute of Technology

My time as a team host for CaseIT was an absolutely amazing experience. I was able to be so immersed in different cultures but also able to make friends around the world. To be honest, one of my favourite moments from the whole week was listening to their presentations and solutions. To see how other cultures and countries viewed problems and how they approached them was so refreshing. They each brought their own unique flair and solution that really showed just how much they thought outside of the box.

Yes, it took time and dedication leading up to it but when I will always treasure the moments I had with my team. It taught me a lot about keeping an open mind and rediscovering Vancouver with my team made me be grateful for what an amazing city it is. At times there were challenges but I was able to overcome each with the support of the OC.

That one packed week was so challenging, unique, and fun. I was able to make friends with the competitors even as they were leaving. CaseIT really opened my eyes to how different the world is compared to Vancouver or Canada. Should a FROSHee ask me about my experience, I’d be glad to share that I was part of the largest MIS-based case competition in North America. I’ll be proud to say that I was there to open SFU’s doors to 20 teams from over 10 different countries. I’ll tell that FROSHee to come in with an open mind and it will be one of the best week you’ll ever have.


Ricky is a 4th year Business Administration student concentrating in Marketing and Operations Management with a minor in Interactive Arts and Technology. Not only has he been a part of CaseIT 2017 as a Team Host but has also been involved with numerous student-run organizations within the Beedie School of Business from PUSH Magazine to Enactus SFU. When not in school, you can find him finding the best spots to eat in the Greater Vancouver area, watching TV, or posing for a photo.