A world title that was fought for in a competition halfway around the world has come home to Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) after the latest victory for the RSM STAR Case Club. After qualifying through international case competitions last year, one of the teams won the invitation-only Champions Trophy Case Competition at the University of Auckland in New Zealand on Saturday 4 February against 11 other international teams. Team members in New Zealand were Anton RzaevNina LjubanovicFelix Fuhlendorf, and Christian Fisch – all four students are in their third year of the BSc International Business Administration programme at RSM. They were accompanied to New Zealand by their faculty advisor Prof. Michel Lander.

The team continued their winning streak to bring home a world title after four previous wins in international case competitions in the past 14 months: the CBS Invitational Case  in Denmark in February 2022; the AKB Business Champions Case Competition in October 2021; the Rotterdam/Carleton University International Case Competition in November 2021; and the International Case Competition at Maastricht in May 2022.

No computers…

The competition took the form of three preliminary rounds during which all teams competed against each other in four divisions and one final. Competitors were allowed only five hours of preparation for each round. Teams made 10-minute presentations, followed by 10 minutes of Q&A from a panel of professional judges. The teams had to rely on their personal presentation skills – computers were not allowed in the presentations, only calculators during the preparation time.

The teams with the most points at the end of the third preliminary round advanced to the final round. Teams in second place could compete for a place in the final in the wild card round.

Formidable competitors

In Auckland, the RSM STAR Case Club team competed against 11 other international teams from the Business School of the National University of Singapore (NUS); HEC in Montréal, Canada; Smith School of Business, Queen’s University in Australia; Rotman Commerce at the University of Toronto, Canada; Copenhagen Business School, Denmark; Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary; the University of Auckland, New Zealand; the University of Melbourne, Australia; The University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia; University of Southern California (USC) Marshall School of Business, USA; and the Heavener School of Business, University of Florida, USA.

The RSM team was drawn to compete in a pool against “a formidable competitor: the team from the National University of Singapore,” said Prof. Lander. RSM won its first business case on Day 1 but was beaten by NUS on Day 2. This defeat showed that the RSM team really needed to come back together, and there were ‘earnest conversations’, said Prof. Lander – resulting in a solid win on Day 3, which carried them into the final round.

Final day

The business case in the final round was based on accounting software firm Xero. “First up was the home team from the University of Auckland, who put in a solid performance with an innovative solution to become a one-stop shop by adding new features to the product range. The RSM team was the second to present and they took a consolidation approach. Their solution built on the core strengths of the company and to ensure that SMEs would receive tailored solutions for their business. The decision to consolidate around the core strengths made sense in the face of the approaching recession,” explained Prof. Lander. Next, Smith School of Business, Queens University presented their solution which was a mix between RSM’s and Auckland’s work. The last two teams to present, UNSW and USC Marshall, both designed solutions that advocated diversification but compared to the other three groups their business impact was much smaller.

After deliberating, the judges announced RSM as the winner. They judged each solution based on IDEO design thinking principles and their report emphasised that RSM’s strategy of consolidation and building on the existing business’s core strengths best suited the challenge because it met the needs of the people, was feasible from a technological standpoint, and was viable for success.  

The history and recent successes of the RSM STAR Case Club are celebrated in the Wall of Fame display on the third floor (T3) of RSM’s Mandeville building.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. 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 can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. www.rsm.nl

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Erika Harriford-McLaren, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at harriford@rsm.nl.


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