Cracking the case: NUS Business School students clinch victories at local and international case competitions

Exceptional teamwork, inventive thinking and analytical acumen – NUS Business School undergraduates have proven their mettle and emerged triumphant at both the local and international stage in two case competitions held recently. A team of Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) students comprising Jacky Hu, Alexis Tan, Jin Wenqi and Johnathon Tan from the NUS Case Consulting Group (CCG) won the Rotterdam School of Management’s (RSM) STAR Case Competition, while two BBA students, Hazel Lye and Jessy Lene Amolar, were victors at the MaritimeONE Case Summit 2023 organised by the Singapore Maritime Foundation.

Held annually in the city of Rotterdam in Netherlands since 2014, the RSM STAR Case Competition is regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious and highly anticipated business case competitions.

This year, 16 teams from top business schools around the world, including Berkeley University of California, University of Florida and Copenhagen Business School, were invited to showcase their problem-solving abilities and develop solutions to challenges faced by two global beverage giants.  The teams were given 12 hours to propose an innovative strategy to boost Heineken’s engagement with ‘Generation Z’ consumers specifically for its Heineken Silver brand. Meanwhile, Coca-Cola’s 24-hour challenge to participants involved proposing a solution to address water stewardship in water-stressed regions.

Johnathon, a Year 2 BBA student, shared that his love of problem-solving along with the opportunity for global exposure were the reasons he was drawn to participate in the competition. “It provided me with the opportunity to represent the University on an international stage, a chance to travel to Europe and experience a new culture, as well as broaden my horizons and gain a global perspective (on issues),” he said.

For Heineken, the team drew from their own experiences as members of ‘Generation Z’, a term referring to young people who are born between the mid-1990s and mid-2010s. Inspired by their observation that these consumers preferred authentic interactions and collaborative engagement with brands, they mooted the idea of ‘Silver Circle’ – a social platform which allows users to share videos of how and where they have been enjoying a drink of Heineken Silver.

The Coca-Cola problem, however, was more complex, explained team leader Jacky. “We really had to pull our knowledge and experience together and finally came up with a multi-pronged approach to improving water security,” he said. The team focused their recommendations on the water-stressed region of California and proposed the introduction of ‘AquaCARE’. This independent organisation would coordinate local water sustainability efforts and foster greater cooperation amongst stakeholders within the ecosystem through education and advocacy.

Brainstorming and strategising over 24 hours proved to be both a physically and mentally challenging process for the team. After hours of intense discussions, “the limitless supply of Coke Zero kept us awake and gave us the energy to continue!” joked Jacky, who will be graduating next month.

Associate Professor Ang Swee Hoon, Deputy Head of the Department of Marketing at NUS Business School, who was the team’s mentor said, “The students did NUS proud with their mature and viable solution, coupled with a strong and confident question-and-answer session. The judges were impressed that students were able to develop such a strategy within 24 hours and despite having no experience in the beverage industry.”

Find out more : NUS Education

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