Case Competition FAQ

What is a case competition?

A case competition is an event in which teams of students have the opportunity to examine real-life business problems and present their solutions and ideas to a panel of corporate executives and business leaders. All teams will be given the same case and the team will make create a presentation on why their solution is the best. The panel will judge the recommendations on aspects like feasibility, creativity, completeness, etc.

Why should I participate in a case competition?

There are multitudes of reasons for why you should participate in a case competition! Here are a few reasons:

  • Experience: These competitions provide the most hands-on, realistic simulations of what it would be like to work in the supply chain industry. There will be opportunities to analyze and make recommendations on real-life strategic issues just like real business professional. You will also be able to practice leadership skills in a team environment. The case competition can also help you realize if the supply chain industry is something you want to be a part of.
  • Networking: There are many opportunities to meet and interact with various representatives from many great companies. In addition, there will be top supply chain students from other schools that you can meet too.
  • Confidence and Resume Booster: Amazing the judges and winning a case competition increases your confidence in your own skills, which can help you present yourself better in an interview. You will also be able to present the case competition as an impressive experience on your resume and as a talking point in interviews.
  • Application of Skills: get the opportunity to apply the skills you have learned in the classroom to real world experiences
  • Stronger Classmate Relationships: You will be on a team with 3-4 other Smith Supply Chain Management students. After spending a few days together and working hard through the case problem, you will have a much stronger relationship with your team! These bonds will stay with you even after the competition.
  • Stronger Communication Skills: You will have the experience of presenting to business managers, answering questions under pressure, and receiving feedback about your team’s ideas in relationship with real world expectations.
  • Travel: With your travel expenses paid by the department, you will be able to travel to a different place for free!
  • Prizes: Many case competitions do offer monetary prizes in addition to bragging rights!

When and where do case competitions take place?

Case competitions take place throughout the school year and all over the country!

Do I have to pay to join the case competition?

No, the Supply Chain department will cover your travel expenses during the case competition.

How are case competition team formed?

Please email your resume to Dianne Fox (dfox@rhsmith.umd.edu) and let her know which case competition you are interested in participating in. Dianne will gather the candidates and then decisions will be made on which candidates will be a part of the team.

Will I be missing class?

Most case competitions do happen throughout the school week, therefore there is a high chance that you will be missing class. The case competition is an excused absence, however you must let your professor know before hand and make sure you make up the work.

Can a case competition help me get an internship or job?

Absolutely! Doing a case competition is a great resume booster and does help you stand out when competing for a job. You can also use your participation in a case competition as examples for interview questions like the following: “When was a time you had to work in a team”, “When was a time you had to work under pressure”, “Describe a time when you made a process improvement or recommendation”, etc. Also, at the case competition you will have the opportunity to interact with the companies that are sponsoring the competition. The competition sponsors are there to help with the case competition, in addition to looking for possible candidates for positions at their companies.

How do I prepare for a case competition? 

Meeting up with team members before the competition is crucial. The case competition advisor will give you further instructions on how to prepare with your group as the competition approaches.