Bachelor students who won a case competition in Riga, Latvia had their international experience crowned with an invitation to celebrate King’s Day at the Dutch Embassy in the city in April 2018. For the Peak Time Case Competition, which was organised by the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, the team worked on a business case involving a customer loyalty programme for a Russian retail company.

The annual Peak Time Case Competition took place from 27-29 April. The open case competition tests students’ creativity and problem-solving skills by working under time pressure to solve a real-world business problem.

RSM was represented by bachelor students Ron Koppers, Gloria Marín, Octavio Mota and Benedikt Jürges, who are all in the second or third year of RSM’s BSc International Business Administration. To prepare for the event, the RSM team had practised case solving and presentation skills with Dr Otto Koppius and PhD candidate Derck Koolen.

Customer loyalty programme

The final case was about a big Russian retail company that had to redefine its customer loyalty programme for its premium brands, while playing into increased customer needs, especially concerning digitalisation.

“Peak Time taught me to appreciate the grind, the discipline,” said third-year IBA student Octavio Mota. “There is something in successful people that yearns for the moment they can work their heart out for a good cause. I felt that yearning when I represented RSM and the RSM STAR Case Society in this international case competition, joined our team of wonderful people, and had the honour to present and excel in front of the brightest minds in business.”

Business simulation game

Over 100 university teams had applied for the online preliminary round, which was a Cesim business simulation game and working on a business case. For the business simulation game, the teams had to run their own company online by filling out parameters and adhering to a certain strategy, while competing against the other teams for the highest profits and shareholder value.

In the second preliminary round, the undergraduate student teams had solved a case about a Telecom company that wanted to expand to new markets in Africa. Based on the results, 21 teams were invited to the competition in Riga.

Ultimately, five teams – including the RSM team and a student team from the Erasmus School of Economics – made it to the final round in which they were challenged to solve the 16-hour business case about the Russian retail company overnight. The 16-hour case was written and judged by The Boston Consulting Group, the main case partner of the Peak Time Case Competition.

Realistic and detailed solution

The five finalist teams presented their cases to the jury, which consisted of several business consultants from BCG and other organisations, and MBA graduates of Stockholm School of Economics in Riga.

“This was not an easy case competition,” said Ron Koppers, who is a second-year RSM IBA student. “The effort that we had to put in to make it through the extensive preliminary rounds and to prepare ourselves for the finals was truly a lot. But at the moment they announced us as the winner, I realised it had been all worth it.”

The jury has chosen the RSM students as the winners because of their realistic and detailed solution for the case. The jury appreciated the nature of the solution itself. They were also very positive about the clear structure and level of professionality with which the case was presented by the RSM students. The team won an €1,500 cash prize.

The RSM students had tapped into the current customer trends regarding digitisation while taking the specific needs of the Russian customers in account. “We developed an exclusive 'RetailCo Club',” says Ron Koppers. “We noticed Russian customers tend to care a lot about status, so we developed a loyalty programme based on a status system.” He explained a customer would receive either a level 1 (lowest), level 2 or level 3 (highest) status, based on which they would receive spend-based and personalised discount offers to increase their loyalty to the company.

For example, a customer who spends more than 2,000 roubles per month would receive a level 3 status. This means that the customer receives weekly personalised offers with a discount of 35 per cent. The system would be based around a database that collects information by either a bonus card or a mobile app, depending on the customer’s preference, so the solution is centred around digitisation. The entire solution was backed up by a detailed financial analysis that stated costs and forecasts financial performance for the coming three years. 

RSM STAR Case Society

The RSM STAR Case Society sends out teams to represent RSM at international case competitions all around the globe. These valuable learning experiences enable students to apply the theoretical knowledge from their courses to real-life business cases. These competitions are an excellent opportunity for the students to network with other bright minds from all over the world.

Peak Time Case Competition

The Peak Time Case Competition first took place in 1999, and is organised by students from the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, Latvia. More than 100 teams applied for the competition through an online preliminary round, of which 21 were invited to the final event. Participants came from universities worldwide, including Thailand, Hong Kong, India, Denmark, Russia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, and Belarus.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top 10 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. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Marianne Schouten, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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