Category: Case Competition
One of the great advantages of a case competition is displaying your talents to a corporate sponsor. Sometimes this happens in the competition itself, and often it happens behind the scenes.
Following the 2011 International Tech Strategy Business Case Competition, sponsored by Ericsson, seven Boston University MBA students accepted jobs with the Swedish-based telecommunications giant. Each of the students mentioned below traveled a slightly different path, but all attribute their success to the connections they made during the competition or the intensive days of preparation beforehand.
A Broadband Connection
During the weeks leading up to the 2010 case competition, Arvind Patravali’s (MS•MBA’11) responsibilities working on the event included helping dozens of visitors feel comfortable on their trip to Boston by setting them up in hotels and taking care of logistical issues. Among the guests were top executives from Ericsson, the competition’s main sponsor. The event allowed Patravali to turn his background in engineering into a wonderful job opportunity.
Over drinks one night, an Ericsson senior manager asked Patravali what he had planned for the summer. With no job on the horizon, the manager instructed Patravali to forward his resume to her after the competition. A couple of months later he began a three-month internship that, upon his graduation from BU a year later, became a full-time job. Patravali is currently working in the mobile broadband area of Ericsson out of their Plano, Texas office.
“When I spoke to people [at Ericsson] about connecting people and what they’re doing in the next five years it seemed very interesting,” he said. “It’s always good to be on the cutting edge, which they are.”
Network into the Network
In his two years working on the Ericsson Case Competition, Nathan Robbins (MS•MBA’11) learned a ton of useful information about the importance of networking.
During the event’s opening night each year, he was able to have dinner with the CEO of Ericsson and hear his vision for the company around the globe. “That was when Ericsson was put on the radar for me as a company I would want to work for,” he said. “Not only because of my interest in technology, but their activity in telecommunications, a basic human need, really appealed to me.”
Last year he was committee chairman, overseeing the event and making sure everything went smoothly. Several times throughout the competition, he worked in the same room with approximately 30 of the most senior people at Ericsson.
“It’s a great opportunity for students to get to know major industry players, and with me, a lot of the networking itself was done at the event. With everyone in one place, things happen a lot faster.”
Today, Robbins works as a business analyst, spending his time developing Ericsson’s global strategy and business operations within North America from the company’s office in Plano, Texas.
When she was a high school student in Delhi, India, Kirti Malik (MBA’11) knew she wanted to be a marketing analyst. Working on the Ericsson Case Competition helped her achieve this goal, but in a more subtle way than most of her colleagues.
She worked on the competition’s committee in both 2010 and 2011, helping with organizational tasks and establishing a tournament timeline, but unlike the other students who went on to find immediate work by taking advantage of the event’s various networking opportunities, Malik took a different tack. Instead of approaching Ericsson’s executives during the event’s weekend, she submitted her resume at a BU job fair, and then spoke about her role in the competition’s organization with her interviewer.
“I know a few of my friends made contacts at the competition, and it worked out for them,” Malik said. “But I chose not to talk job opportunities during the competition. Instead, I chose to build some common ground with my interviewer.”
Obviously the approach worked. Today Malik is working in Leawood, Kansas as a marketing analyst for Ericsson.
Familiarity Breeds Respect
Before serving as marketing coordinator for the 2010 International Tech Strategy Business Case Competition, Rahul Nagpal (MBA’11) was targeting Microsoft, Amazon.com, and Google as possible employers for a career in product marketing.
But after the event, during which he spent time creating brochures, updating social media, and blogging for the competition, Nagpal began to shift his interest toward working in telecommunications at Ericsson.
“First and foremost, I got to meet the top executives, which is really helpful,” he said. “The case competition opened doors for me with entering the telecommunications industry.” After meeting Ericsson’s CEO during that weekend, Nagpal decided to approach the company about pursuing a job. Right now he’s a sales account manager working at Ericsson’s Plano, Texas office, handling the company’s T-Mobile account.
“Getting to speak with [Ericsson’s executives] one-on-one was great,” he said. “It was a key opportunity, and a wonderful experience.”
Job Fair to Amazing Job
Last January, Anup Patel (MBA’11) attended a local European job fair with hopes of finding work at a technology-based organization.
Patel, who worked on the International Tech Strategy Business Case Competition in both 2010 and 2011, saw a familiar company name: Ericsson. After submitting his resume, and chatting with the recruiter at the fair, he was contacted four months later and offered a job.
“The relationship I established with [Ericsson] at the case competition helped me,” he said. “How much? I’m not sure, but having talked to the company’s CEO did come up in my interview, and it may have been helpful.”
Today, Patel is working as a business analyst in Plano, Texas, and he couldn’t be happier. “Everyone who works here is willing to learn new things,” he said. “Sometimes people get complacent after being at a company for so long, but the people here want to change with how the industry is changing. It’s amazing.”
BU Again Hosts 16 MBA Teams in Seventh Annual Event
Seven years ago, Associate Dean John Chalykoff initiated a unique business case competition at Boston University based on the strategic application of IT principles. It has grown to be a signature School of Management event.
The International Tech Strategy Business Case Competition invites 15 teams representing top business schools from all over the world to join host BU. (This year that list includes Harvard, Oxford, and Duke, as well as schools from Hong Kong, Spain, Mexico, and South Korea.) It allows students to not only compete for a $25,000 first prize, but also put their knowledge on display in front of several major players in the fields of IT and telecommunications.
The seventh annual competition is scheduled for March 29-31, 2012.
“It’s an opportunity to showcase the best students in the world around IT strategy,” Chalykoff said. “The stature of the competition has grown to the point where we now have several universities on the waiting list wanting to get in.”
In order to select its own team for the big event, BU holds an internal tournament consisting of at least 12 teams every January. Alumni, faculty, and a venture capitalist serve as judges. The 2012 BU team is John Bry, Mikhail Gurevich, Kevin Harder, and Mike Rabinovich.
This year, the 16 teams will be presented with a case on the morning of Friday, March 30. They will then have 24 sleepless hours to compile their data, construct their argument, and prepare their most effective presentation for the judges. Last year’s case was centered on the question, “How should Ericsson shape the future of the health care and energy sectors?” It was won by the University of Western Ontario’s Richard Ivey School of Business.
Todd Valentine (MS•MBA’12), an SMG student with a strategy and innovation concentration, is serving as committee chair for this year’s event. He believes one of the main benefits of the competition has been its fostering of a healthy relationship between BU and Ericsson—this will be the company’s fifth straight year as the event’s presenting sponsor.
“Without Ericsson the competition wouldn’t be possible,” Valentine said. “Last year the company’s CEO, Hans Vestberg, attended and will be attending again this year. This event really gives interested students a lot of exposure to Ericsson and the other way around. It allows the company to cherry-pick the best and the brightest.”
For last year’s contest, several executives from Ericsson traveled to Boston to immerse themselves in an intensive executive education course at BU. They then participated in a collaborative mini-case where the student teams were broken up and randomly reconstructed to include Ericsson’s executives. “People made some strong connections during that collaboration,” Valentine said. “The networking part of it is a pretty large draw.”
“The competition leads to school spirit, students working with executives, and a chance to interact with students from different schools. It brings together the world’s most respected IT-oriented MBA programs and creates an enthusiastic experience while advancing innovative ideas about real-world business issues,” says Chalykoff.
by Michael Pina
1st place team to compete in International Tech Strategy Case Competition in March
During the weekend of January 28-29, 12 teams of Boston University School of Management students participated in the School’s Internal Tech Strategy Case Competition.
|Congratulations to the winners|
1st Place, Team 12:
Mike Rabinovich (MBA ’12)
2nd Place, Team 3:
Corey Mathis (MBA ’12)
3rd Place, Team 7:
Lara Wasowski (MS-MBA ’13)
The 1st place team, Team 12, will move on to compete against 15 other schools in the Seventh Annual International Tech Strategy Case Competition March 29-31, 2012, hosted by Boston University School of Management in collaboration with Ericsson.
The competition recognizes the best up-and-coming MBA strategists who understand the transformative power of IT in business, and enables student teams to showcase their talents to top players in the technology and telecom fields.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org/.