Written by Lauren Tolin
Case Comp season is upon us and we are down to the wire. It is the end of the year and now we must utilize all the tools we’ve gained all semester for the final task: Case Competition. For many, Case Comps may seem like a daunting idea, standing up in front of a multitude of judges, presenting solutions and recommendations, and then receiving feedback. On top of that, we are faced with nerves and anxiety, sometimes feeling like we’re close to cracking under pressure. It is easy to fall into the mindset of wondering what purpose does the pressure and competition serves? Our mentors will quickly tell us…the answer is easy; this is what the real world is like after graduation.
For students, case competitions seem like just that, a competition. However, the real world will be full of these “competitions.” Presenting deliverables, working with a team to come up with a new idea, pitching that idea to your boss or set of bosses (judges). These are the tools that case comps are allowing us to practice NOW, BEFORE we step foot in the workforce. Though these competitions may seem like an enormous amount of effort, work, time commitment, and patience, these are skills we must learn and perfect now while we are students so that as full-time employees, we will have been through all those deliverables, will be more at ease, and be able to add value quickly to our respective organizations.
Here are a few tips that will guide you through Case Comp season that can also apply to your post-grad job:
Prepare & Research: Start your preparation early! Meet with your team, begin research and collect data to get the project going and establish a project plan. Often times the hardest part of anything is simply starting.
Ask for Help: It is okay and often recommended to meet with a superior to review your work. This guidance can help you answer those tough questions, clarify expectations, and improve your deliverable.
Practice, practice, practice: There is no such thing as over-practicing. You can always rehearse and always practice what you’re going to say, how you will say it, and your overall delivery for the presentation. Especially in teams, practice is key for a smooth, well-rehearsed deliverable; this will also help with nerves.
Be confident: No one will listen to or remember your presentation if you are unsure, nervous, and not confident in your findings. Confidence is key! Smile, show how all your hard work paid off, and give purpose to your deliverable. This aspect is what separates average and winning teams.
With these tips, you can succeed through the stressful Case Competition season and come out better prepared for the real world. All in all, it is never too early to start your career before you graduate.