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Waikato students win place at 24hr IT case competition

14 January 2013

Waikato students win place at international 24hr IT case comp

A group of Waikato University students has won the chance to represent New Zealand at a prestigious 24hr IT business case competition in Canada, where it will compete against 15 teams from top international universities.

The CaseIT Competition, run by Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University, sees more than 35 universities and technical institutes from around the world invited to submit an IT strategy based on a real-life company’s business case, with the top 13 teams making it through to the competition in Vancouver where they face the three finalists from the previous year.

Waikato University’s Team Forte, consisting of Waikato Management School students Chris Williams, Karleen Puriri, Bevan Dawson and Timoti Daymond, is the only New Zealand team to win entry to the competition this February. They will be joined in Vancouver by Queensland University of Technology, the only other successful entrant from Australasia.

Team member Chris Williams, who is studying towards a Bachelor of Management Studies (BMS) majoring in Strategic Management and Management Systems, says it is a massive opportunity for the students as wells as the University. “This competition is a pretty big deal. We will be up against the best business schools in the world, so we want to do Waikato, and New Zealand proud.”

The 16 teams will be given a business case and 24hrs to come up with a strategic proposal for the company’s IT strategy. “For the qualifying round we had one month to submit our proposal, there we will have one day. It will be a pretty intense 24hrs, but we are up to the challenge."

Students must hand over all electronic devices before starting the 24hr vigil. “We’re basically locked in our hotel room and cut off from the rest of the world. It’s about what we can come up with on our own, based on our learnings and experience.”

The teams then present their strategies in front of a panel of judges the following morning, with the top four teams making it through to a final round. “Our goal is to make it to the top three, which will give us automatic entry to next year’s competition,” says Chris. “We were fortunate to see last year’s winning team’s entry and I think our qualifying submission was on par. That gave us confidence that we can compete with the very best universities from around the world.”

As well as the competition, the four-day event also features a conference with speakers from some of the world’s largest IT companies, including SAP and Orbis.

The team is currently preparing for the competition and trying to find sponsorship to help get them to Vancouver. “We’ve been very fortunate to have the support of Air NZ and Waikato University,” says Chris, “but we still need a bit more assistance to get us there.”

Team Forte is being coached and mentored by Professor of Electronic Commerce Technologies, Bob McQueen, from the School’s Department of Management Systems. Professor McQueen had encouraged the group to get involved in the competition, and will be heading to Vancouver to support the team and attend the conference.

The CaseIT competition started in 2004 and has a strong Management Information Systems theme. “It is not purely an Information Technology competition,” says Professor McQueen. “Its focus is on the whole operating system of a business and how technology can be used to manage and improve its performance. That gives our students a natural advantage over other business schools; Waikato Management School takes a global look at business strategy and how management information systems are an essential tool within that.”

For more information about Team Forte, and to follow their progress in Vancouver, check out their Facebook page

To make a donation, or to become a sponsor, check out the team’s sponsorship summary

For more information about the CaseIT competition, visit


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