Elon business students place third in global case competition

A team of Martha and Spencer Love School of Business students represented the United States in the McGill Management International Case Competition, which brought together teams from 10 countries.

The Elon University team of Joey Abrams ’20, Emily Fasth ’19, Tanisha Gupta ’19 and Hannah Quinlan ’19 won third place in the 2019 McGill Management International Case Competition (MMICC), a world-class undergraduate competition focusing on globalization, innovation and multi-disciplinary thinking.

Elon was the only school in the United States to receive an invitation to participate in the competition hosted by McGill University in Montreal, Canada. The team was accompanied by faculty adviser Christy Benson, associate professor of business law.

Other participating schools included University of Melbourne, University of Belgrade, National University of Singapore, McGill University, Korea University, Wilfrid Laurier University, University of Delhi, Asia Pacific University, IE Business School and Copenhagen Business School.

Teams were tasked with developing an international expansion plan for BonLook, a Canadian eyewear company focused on providing customers with a seamless omnichannel experience. After the onsite case reveal, teams had 32 hours to complete an analysis – identifying key priorities, weighing benefits and addressing risks – and draft a strategic plan to present to a judging panel of C-suite executives from BonLook, Air Canada, Gildan and McKesson.

“Our team was given an extremely detailed case and were pushed to the limits to develop our solution,” said Abrams, a junior accounting and finance double major from Ocean, New Jersey.

During the 32 hours, each team was isolated in a room with no phones or outside materials. Teams could not communicate with faculty advisers or ask for external help, and had limited Internet access for light research.

“In 32 hours of intensive case analysis, I utilized every inch of the critical thinking and problem-solving skills that I have cultivated during my four years at Elon,” said Quinlan, a senior economics major from Renfrew, Pennsylvania. “The combination of Joey’s financial acumen and contagious optimism, Emily’s PowerPoint skills, Tanisha’s attention to detail and my research abilities proved to be the perfect storm for a competition of this caliber.”

Judges evaluated teams on their key points, framework and tools for analysis, benchmarks and explanations, creative alternatives, realism of solutions, effectiveness of answers to judges’ questions, as well as presentation skills.

“My team and I entered MMICC with the understanding that we were the underdogs, but we were determined to make our mark,” said Fasth, a senior management (business analytics) major from Charlotte, North Carolina. “I can genuinely say that each team member was vital to our overall success, and the support from the Elon community was empowering. As a senior Business Fellow, this experience has been one of the highlights of my college career and I have never been more proud of my university."

“I couldn't be more proud of how the Elon team rose to the challenge,” Benson added. “I have been coaching case competitions for years, and these students were amazing in how they managed their time and fully utilized the strengths of each individual team member. Their solution was praised by the judges as being not only engaging and memorable, but also reflecting a deep knowledge of the industry and company, with realistic recommendations that BonLook is likely to implement."

Elon also won the MMICC "hype video" competition, which involved teams submitting introductory videos prior to the competition. View Elon's hype video.

Founded in 2001, MMICC has welcomed schools from more than 20 countries to date. In addition to challenging students on their ability to see and convey the “big picture,” the competition included several networking events.

“MMICC prides itself in being the friendliest competition – and it certainly did a great job at being just that,” said Gupta, a senior finance major from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. “Before the case crack started, teams had four days to mingle and network at a variety of events in Montreal’s vibrant downtown area. During this time, we created meaningful friendships with bright international students from every corner of the world."

“This experience has given me an invaluable new skillset and an incredible new group of friends, both at Elon and around the globe,” Abrams added.

>>View Elon's case presentation