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Waikato students win international case competition

4 September 2013

Waikato students win international case competition

It’s official – Waikato University has the best case competition team in New Zealand and quite possibly the world.

At the international SDS business case competition held in Queenstown last week, the Waikato team of Isabelle Atherton, Stuart Barrass, Jamie Carson and Greg Johnston beat teams from Otago, Auckland, Victoria, AUT and Canterbury universities, and six more teams from Australia, Canada, Singapore and China.

Teams were given a business case and had five-hours to develop a strategy that they then had to present to judges and respond to ten minutes of questions by the judging panel.

As they prepared, teams weren’t allowed to use the internet or contact anyone outside the room. The first case was for the Otago Racing Club.

Isabelle Atherton says they’d expected the locals to win that one. “But we won it, and then we had Tatua Co-operative Dairy Company for our second case. We won that round as well and ended up being the only team with maximum points, which put us into the final against Otago, Auckland and Alberta (Canada).

Isabelle is completing her Bachelor of Management Studies (Hons) in Marketing and International Management at Waikato Management School and says the Waikato team, hand-picked from previous competitions at Waikato and around New Zealand, worked well together because they all brought different skills to the team and had defined roles going into the competition.

“We’re all fourth year management students doing honours, but we’re doing different majors, or have different strengths that complement each other. Stuart’s amazing with numbers, for instance; he was so valuable. There’s no way you can win this kind of competition without incredible team work; I reckon our great dynamics were a sure factor of our success.”

Associate Professor Kathryn Pavlovich from the Department of Strategy and Human Resource Management travelled to Queenstown with the team and says the Waikato students were outstanding. For the first time in the competition’s history, the same team won the overall competition and the Spirit Cup, which is a fun competition that runs alongside the main event.

Isabelle says after such an intense week, she’s missing her team mates, and she’s been so inspired by her involvement in the competition and after some subtle suggestions of her team-mates she’s considering returning to Waikato next year to do a specialisation in Entrepreneurship and Strategy.


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