International Business Student Sophia Collins Shares Her Experience In The 2022 SMA Case Competition

International Business Student Sophia Collins

Post created by Colby Klym (Applied IMC - Spring 2022)

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with international business student Sophia Collins, with the goal of learning valuable information about her firsthand experience participating in the case competition. This blog will summarize the five most important questions and answers we discussed during out interview and is aimed to help give future competitors a sneak peek into what they should expect before registering.

To set the stage, Sophia is a senior at WWU graduating this spring with a major in international business and a minor in economics. She is also an Officer for Western's International Business Network and a cross country runner for WWU Athletics. She competed in the 2022 Case Competition with her other two team members, Evan Cloutier and Kristina Wu.

Question: Why did you initially want to participate in the case competition?

As an international business student at Western, I really wanted to expand my presentation and marketing skills further than what I have received within my own program. Also, I wanted to take advantage of the networking opportunities provided through Meet The Professionals, to help me build connections with individuals working in a field I may be interested in.

Question: Describe your preparation experience from receiving the case to presentation day. What tactics would you recommend to future competitors?

After receiving the case on Friday night (a week before competition day), each person on my team took the weekend to review the scenario individually and come up with their own respective recommendations and solutions to the problem presented. The following Monday, we met as a team on Zoom to discuss our thoughts as a group. We developed a budget, a solution, and a presentation for the judges over the course of the week and spent all of Thursday rehearsing our presentation several times.

I would recommend future case comp competitors to START EARLY - it takes longer than you would think to figure out a solution and create the presentation. The presentation should be short and succinct, my group ran out of time and had to rush our last slides unfortunately, so make sure you really stick to that twenty minute cap!

Question: What did it feel like presenting to the judges in the moment?

Very different than presenting projects in class to professors and peers. We joined the Zoom meeting and were met with professionals only, which was a new but humbling experience that gave us a better sense of how presentations go in the real world. It was an excellent outlet for demonstrating the professional skills we have learned over the last few years and use them in a non-academic environment. We felt great while doing it!

Question: What advice can you offer to future students on handling questions from the judges?

My biggest piece of advice would be to spend time planning ahead for the Q&A Session. My group wrote out a list of potential questions that the judges might ask and had them on a slide to help us both think through our strategies more in depth and have some possible answers right in front of us. Also, make sure to know your numbers! Be prepared to give explanations to any numbers in your budget, research or anywhere else to the judges, because they will ask.

Question: Any other thoughts you would like to share on the case competition?

You don't need to be a marketing major to participate! I am an international business student, but this case comp gave me a great opportunity to expand my professional network and implement skills not specific to my concentration in a fun and challenging way! Whether you are a marketing student, business student, or even just a Western student, this competition provides a great outlet for practicing presentation abilities, learning how to solve problems, and improving understanding of fields you are interested in!