CBS finishes second at the 2019 IACBE Case Competition

All News, Faculty   -  7. May 2019

A huge success for the CBS team at the international IACBE Case Competition in Las Vegas: the students from Cologne finished second – a great achievement for the only European team.

Travelling from Cologne: Yannick Bahlmann, Helen Cramer, Kim Vanessa Dammann and Maximilian Nuyken. All four of them are in the International Business Master’s programmeand have successfully competed against many other CBS students for the prestigious opportunity to join that team. Since January, the four have been preparing for the competition. The case competition 2019 itself took place over two days in April: On the first day, the teams presented a comprehensive market entry strategy for the US start-up écree. The company has developed a software that automatically inspects texts for linguistic quality, evaluates them and suggests improvements. Universities can already use this technology, and now the launch into the end customer market is on the agenda. In March, the students from the eight participating universities were given the task of developing a market entry concept and presenting it to the jury in Las Vegas in at most 20 minutes. Part of the briefing was even a video conference with a founder of écree – which shows the great degree of interest the company has in the students’ expertise. The Cologne team – which had never worked together in this form before – met several times a week to work on the case, covering everything from a complex market analysis to detailed recommendations on marketing. They were supported by Prof. Dr. Christoph Willers, Managing Director of CBS and Vice President for Program Development, and Prof. Dr. Markus Raueiser, Vice President for Internationalization and Dean of the International Business Department, in fine-tuning the presentation, which had to be submitted prior to their arrival in Las Vegas. Both of them also flew to Las Vegas to participate in the IACBE conference, the Case Competition being part of it.

Convincing teamwork

On the second day, the teams were not allowed to do any preparation for the task; this called for some spontaneity: in just four hours, an ethical evaluation of modern AI technology had to be developed. The question: Should the individual’s personal freedom be valued higher or lower than the community’s desire for security when using facial recognition software for border control? The CBS team convinced the jury of four with its nuanced assessment and was also able to score points in the concluding Q&A session with a sound ethical theory and good recommendations for action. The purely US-American juries, consisting of company and university representatives, were impressed not only by the solid performance, but also by the excellent English and presentation skills of the Cologne team. “For me, the most exciting thing in participating in the IACBE Case Competition was that I was able to use my academic knowledge in a real case and in a completely new team,” says Helen Cramer, who is currently writing her master’s thesis in marketing management. In Las Vegas there was even ample time for networking with students from other universities and company representatives. During a guided tour of the Caesars Palace Hotel, the teams were able to take a look behind the scenes of the luxury resort with almost 4,000 rooms. By the way, the competition was won by Lynn University from Florida.

IACBE: high standards worldwide

The Case Competition takes place annually during the IACBE Annual Conference, which is attended by representatives of the partner universities. The competition is also a showcase for academic excellence: How comparable are the IACBE-certified study programmes, which can be measured by the performance of the student teams? For the CBS, this year’s second place is a confirmation of its superb work: in 2018, the team from that year was even able to win the competition, and in 2017, the first time a CBS team participated, a remarkable third place was achieved.

The IACBE (International Accreditation Council for Business Education) certifies business study programmes and has already accredited 1,400 programmes worldwide. The CBS is the first university in Germany that has successfully completed this demanding certification process and thus can publicly document its high quality standards. IACBE is well known in the USA, where it is one of the major certifiers.

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