RSM team tops A.T. Kearney European MBA case competition

Top in Europe – but pipped at the post in the global finals. That was the result for MBA participants from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), who won the European finals in the A.T. Kearney Case Competition 2014 in London in mid-November. RSM achieved second place in the global final against the North American team.

RSM’s Full-time International MBA students Daniel Cheddie (Canada), Harold Fotso (France and Cameroon), Giuseppe Puglisi (Italy) and Vibhor Sahay (India) represented RSM in the European finals, working together as a management consulting team. Their challenge was to address a business case based on one of A.T. Kearney’s clients. In the European final, the RSM team competed against Cranfield School of Management, HEC Paris, INSEAD, Judge Business School, London Business School, Saïd Business School and SDA Bocconi.

“This represented the most challenging project in terms of time management, just as in a real-life situation,” commented Giuseppe Puglisi after the team won the European final – but before they competed in the global final. “A consulting project has strict deadlines you need to comply with, and combining the work for A.T. Kearney with classes and studies was very challenging - but rewarding.”

Puglisi said he thought the RSM team won the European final because they incorporated business risk into their solution. “We tend to think business executives want to shy away from risk, whereas in reality they are open to it if there’s a strong rationale behind it,” he said. He also thought using a storytelling approach differentiated the RSM team from other schools that took a more analytical approach.

Other factors for success included diverse professional and personal backgrounds.

Vibhor Sahay said the most challenging part of the competition was prioritising the options they devised. “There were a lot of ways we could have approached and presented a plan,” he said, and added the team’s thorough presentation full of conviction tilted the balance in their favour. Every member contributed passionately and provided constructive criticism to help refine our solution,” he added.

Harold Fotso described the most challenging part as finding the right balance between analysis, content, and delivery. “Every parameter had to be well thought-out and discussed to maximise the overall quality of our final package,” he said.

A limited amount of information provided to the teams in the European final was the biggest part of the challenge for Daniel Cheddie. “Not being able to use outside information forced us to make assumptions to fill gaps in the information given,” he said. “In the end, it allowed us to be creative within the confines of the case.”

Team spirit was especially strong in the RSM team, said Cheddie. “The four of us got along like family and made a great team dynamic that stimulated insightful and candid discussions. From our first informal discussion to the final presentation in London, we progressed within an atmosphere of trust, honesty, dedication and a large dose of mindless humour,” he said.

Now in its 18th year, the A.T. Kearney competition consists of three stages. During the business school competition, teams of four students from each business school vie for a place at the two regional finals in Europe and North America and a cash prize. Winners from the regional finals go forward to a global final to decide the ultimate winner. The global winner for 2014 is Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto in Canada.

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is ranked among Europe’s top 10 business schools for education and among the top three for research. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who carry their innovative mindset into a sustainable future thanks to a first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes. RSM also has offices in the Amsterdam Zuidas business district and in Taipei, Taiwan.

For more information on RSM or on this release, please contact Marianne Schouten, Media & Public Relations Manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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