Be you at BU: It’s business time

by Sabrina-Binta Kone

When looking back at my time here at Bishop’s, I cannot help but think of the array of opportunities that I have received from simply getting involved. Whether it was in athletics or academics, I have been fortunate to get out of my comfort zone on numerous occasions, which has helped shape me into the student-athlete that I am today.  

When thinking of academics in particular, there is one experience that has genuinely taken my undergrad to the next level and that is competing in business case competitions.  

Before diving into why I love them and find them so valuable, I want to explain what case competitions are for those who may be less familiar with the concept.  Essentially, in a case competition, you are part of a team that must solve a company’s problem within a given amount of time based on your concentration (accounting, marketing, finance, strategy, HR, entrepreneurship, etc.). In this given period, you must read the case (where you pinpoint what the issue is), create a 15-20 minute presentation and pitch it to a panel of judges who will then take 5-10 minutes to ask you questions on your recommendation/solution. Your presentation must include areas such as industry trends, resources and capabilities, a competitive analysis, financial implications and so much more! Finally, these competitions occur both regionally, nationally or internationally and successful teams receive 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place.  

As you can imagine, the athlete in me cannot help but love this idea simply because I get to compete. However, aside from that, being part of case competitions has really tested my ability to think on my toes, network with others, work on my presentation skills and apply what I am learning in the classroom to real companies that I know and love. For instance, when I competed internationally at the Universidad Panamericana case competition, we had to propose a solution for YouTube, and help them create a strategy for their Latin American market. Not only was it so exciting to create a proposal for a site that I use every day, but we even had a member of the YouTube team as one of our judges, which was both nerve-wracking and exciting.  

The beauty of being at Bishop’s when attempting something like this is that your professors are also your case coaches and your teammates are also your classmates. You build a bond together and you are all working toward a collective goal of not only becoming strong case competitors, but also becoming more equipped for the workforce.  

While it may sound a little intimidating or scary to some, the outcome is truly rewarding. Finally, if there is one piece of advice that I could leave you with, it is that great things never came out of comfort zones, so put yourself out there and I guarantee you will be so glad you did.  

Editor’s Note: Kone was co-valedictorian of convocation 2021.

The Williams School of Business case competition teams had a fantastic success last year.  In early 2020 they placed 1st at the NIBS Worldwide Case Competition in Germany, and at the recent JDCC case competition our teams placed 1st in Finance, 3rd in Strategy, and 3rd in Marketing.  Great podium finishes for our Gaiters! 

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