NIBS Competition 2019

As four strangers, we started our journey to prepare for NIBS 2019, the World’s leading International Business Case Competition in October 2018 unaware of the challenges, adventures and lifelong friendships we would be making along the way. We were selected to represent London South Bank University at the Network of International Business School (NIBS) case competition; we knew this would require hard work and dedication. However, we were also aware that through participating in such a prestigious competition we would be able to broaden our knowledge on international business, as well as expand our global network with the top international business students across the globe…

Testing our knowledge

We started as individuals from across the school of business, but in a very short amount of time became #TeamLSBU, an ambitious and creative team who were determined and eager to learn all aspects of case studies and consultancy in order to qualify for the championship round on Prince Edward Island, Canada. In order to qualify we had eight hours to review an assigned MBA level business case and prepare a written report as a team containing an analysis, strategic options and a final recommendation for the company to ensure the business meets its aims and objectives. These eight hours were very stressful for all of us, taking everything we’d learned throughout our university education and applying these concepts to the practical business world.

Qualifying for the championship: America

After months of eagerly waiting for the outcome of the qualifying round, we received the great news that we had qualified and were invited for the championship round on Prince Edward Island, alongside 16 of the best business schools across the globe! This was one of the greatest feelings ever, all our hard work had paid off! Receiving this news made us even more motivated and committed to becoming the best consultants we could possibly be with the help of our amazing coach, Christina Anderl who dedicated lots of her personal time to fill a gap in our education system and university learning experience. Christina supported us at every stage as a mentor, coach and friend. We would definitely not have grown this greatly both personally and professionally if it was not for Christina!

After continuous preparation and hard work, February 2019 had arrived; the month we had all been waiting for. The championship round! And off we flied to PEI, one of eastern Canada's Maritime Provinces. In comparison to London, PEI was a very small and peaceful island with heavy snowfall. We arrived in Halifax and after a short stopover were boarded onto the smallest plane we have ever seen, a bit like a private jet. After a very short 40-minute flight over the frozen sea, we had arrived to Charlottetown airport.

Upon arriving to the Delta Marriot hotel, we were exhausted so we had a team dinner and an early night. After a refreshing morning, we headed and were warmly welcomed for a buffet breakfast with the NIBS organiser. After a relaxing afternoon and final preparations, we toured round the local town visiting the marina and confederation mall.

A warm welcome and great achievement

The next morning, Sunday was the welcome ceremony for the 24th annual NIBS worldwide international business case competition. We headed on a coach alongside other teams to the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) where we were warmly welcomed with the host university and our team ambassador, Jacob. The welcome ceremony started with an informal networking event along with the opportunity for team members to take group pictures. Then the ceremony began in a large auditorium where the results of the qualifying round were presented to all of us. To our surprise, we qualified as the top 8 universities! This was a great team achievement.

Competition – and friends

The next morning, Monday, was the first day of round robin, we were up against Southeast Missouri state university, USA. A very nerve-racking and intense day, our first case on mergers, corporate focus, international expansion, and marketing challenges at a personal luxury goods retailer. We remained calm and focused and in 4 hours were ready to present to a panel of judges. After a long day at UPEI, we were taken back to the hotel and were later off for a dinner alongside the 16 competing university students. By this moment, we had become good friends with Universidad del istmo, Guatemala so spent the evening bonding with our new friends.

Round 2

Tuesday morning was a new day new start with round 2, and we were up against UC Leuven-Limburg, Belgium. Our second case had a focus on governance, sustainability, and strategic challenges at a membership-based not-for-profit organization in Lebanon. This was a case with a strong emphasis on culture, which we loved. After presenting we later went for dinner alongside both students and coaches and were able to get a good feel of the Canadian cuisine and culture.

Round 3

Day 3, was an early start with round 3 where we up against Rotterdam university of applied sciences, Netherlands. Today’s case was a Romanian furniture company Forta that contemplates international expansion. In a quick space of time, this case was completed and over lunch, 8 teams were knocked out before the quarter-finals in the afternoon.

Reflection

Competition week was not only filled with interesting cases that challenged and improved our way of thinking, working together and implementation of strategies, but even more filled with wonderful people and friendships. We are honoured to have participated in the NIBS Worldwide Case Competition in Prince Edward Island, Canada. It has truly been a great learning experience, and a great opportunity to form relationships with creative and talented minds.

Special thanks to our coach Christina Anderl for providing us the opportunity to take part in our first international case study competition!