Creating strategy solutions at living management case Deloitte

By Nora Puhala

For our very first living management case, I was a member of one of the four teams working on a strategy case for Deloitte Netherlands. The main topic of this six-week case was ‘How to use data analytics to leverage M&A success’, which required us to analyse why so many M&A transactions fail. Eventually we had to come up with an analytics tool for Deloitte to reduce this failure rate.

To start off, all teams got an introduction lecture from Professor Taco Reus and from our three Deloitte coaches Klaasjan Doeswijk, Guilherme Machado and Jens Groot, who gave us theoretical and practical insights about the current M&A landscape.

Capturing synergies

The assignment instructions were left rather vague on purpose, so that each of the teams could come up with a creative approach to find solutions. We had to work quickly as we needed to present a proposal to the Deloitte consultants at the office in Rotterdam within a week. The consultants gave us critical but constructive feedback regarding the content, but also regarding our presentation skills and PowerPoint slides. Then it was time to work out the details of our solution within the following month.

While the three other groups developed a tool aiming at reducing cultural clashes during the M&A transaction, my group went another way and we decided to focus on capturing synergies. With the example of the retail industry, and in particular a hypothetical merger between the Dutch supermarkets Jumbo and Deen, we developed a dashboard, which optimises store networks, warehouse networks as well as in-store offerings.

Applicability of tools

We had to write a report of 15-20 pages and prepare a roughly 30-minute presentation. We travelled to the Deloitte office in Amsterdam to present our findings in front of our three mentors, two other colleagues who are involved with Deloitte’s current data analytics solutions, and Professor Reus. Our management skills lecturer Marina Reemer evaluated our presentation skills.

After all four groups presented and answered Deloitte’s questions, we received great feedback from them in terms of our professionalism, our content with special focus on the applicability of the tools we came up with, our creativity and our presentations. The Deloitte team even announced a winner for the best presentation and best content (a bottle of Prosecco and a winner’s certificate included!). The day slowly came to an end and Deloitte invited us for celebratory drinks close to the office.

Overall, this case was one of my favourite ones so far because it gave us the opportunity to come up with a creative strategy solution. The Deloitte consultants treated us more as colleagues than students which gave us insights about how working at such a reputable company as Deloitte can be.

My team colleague Martin Brousil found that ‘the strong feedback, support and advice from our academic and company coaches proved to be essential for our success’. During this case, we experienced it all: the stress, the hard work and eventually also the reward!

 – Nora Puhala, student, MSc Finance & Investments Advanced