By, Kelly Fuson, Full-Time MBA ‘11
I had the immense pleasure of competing in the 2011 Sony Marketing Strategy Case Competition which took place in San Diego, CA, the weekend of February 19th. First, I must mention that I did sign an NDA and therefore will not disclose any details about the case itself, but I will share my thoughts on the experience. It is a rare opportunity to compete in such a high-caliber competition amongst MBA students and this was no exception.
I first applied for the competition back in December (or was it November? It feels like a century ago). I was very attracted to the uniqueness of the competition based on the fact that I would apply as an individual and be paired randomly with students from other schools if I was accepted. However, when I found out that I was accepted, I wanted only to know who was on my team so I could start strategizing right away. But the true beauty of the competition was that not only are you figuring out recommendations for a very complex case but also going through the group norming process all within less than 8 hours (excluding the pre-competition dinner the night before).
When I arrived in San Diego on Friday afternoon I quickly scoped out my competition and wondered at the same time which of those students would be on my team. And in true Thunderbird fashion, I made sure to connect with everyone, regardless of whether or not they became my teammate. As a networker at heart, I knew it was not only a good opportunity to showcase my talent but also a great opportunity to make connections with other extremely bright MBAs. Indeed it was. Although it was an extremely fast and short weekend, I am confident that I now have added value to my network.
The team at Sony was very impressive and made sure to show all 60 students a good time. Every one of them was very friendly and welcoming. The building (HQ) itself was fantastic and played true tribute to the founders of Sony. It is no wonder why they decided to relocate the competition from Texas to San Diego. The best part (or another one at least)? The Sony team made sure that no contestant walked away empty handed as every student brought home a Sony product.
Let this be a lesson to all MBA students that you should take every opportunity you can to apply for case competitions. They are a great experience, win or no win. They are the best way to put your knowledge and – more importantly – your teamwork/leadership to the test.
I will end with a quick shout out to the T-birds who won the Supply-Chain and HR case competitions!