'Business Competition' is a staple term in the extra-curricular arena of university students nowadays. It is hard to even find a fresher, not hearing about business case competitions. Most of these competitions are marketing and branding competitions with different rounds, each round upscaling the difficulty level with real-life scenarios where students have to craft a realistic solution in accordance with the business world.
Now jumping into the bandwagon, students participate in business competitions in numbers. However, most of them fail to proceed through the rounds in the competition. To unveil the mystery behind acing business competitions, this writer interviewed the winners of one of the biggest business competitions of Bangladesh, 'Casessination 2.0', arranged by BRAC University Business Club.
Most of these case competitions require the participants to form a team of three to five members and it is very crucial to sort a balanced team for yourself in order to proceed through the rigorous rounds.
"The key behind cracking a business case competition is forming a team where each member has their unique feature. Working under the same club, the Finance Club of North South University (NSU), made it easier for us to form our own team," said Samia Azam from Team DIGITAAL, the winner of 'Casessination 2.0'.
It might not sound much of a fuss, but acing business competitions is no easy feat, as teams need to qualify through various rigorous rounds, each round with a different challenge. To go through these rounds, the teams need proper planning and accurate implementation of their ideas.
When asked about their key strategies to overcome the challenges faced in each round, Shah Nafis Ahammed said, "Our strategy was to achieve maximum efficiency. All four of us specialise in certain skills, which helped us divide work and deliver as fast as possible. This opened space for implementing more ideas into our solutions and put things into perspective, which lead to the eventual win".
Tashdid Rahman feels what most participants fail to do is fragment the case and problems into different parts. When someone approaches all the issues mentioned together, they end up with no efficient solution. Another thing that most participants miss out on is identifying the underlying problems mentioned in the case. They use their presumed knowledge and apply that to the case, which eventually fails their whole endeavour.
Tashdid said, "We approached the cases with an empty mind, with no presuppositions of what a problem is or might be and solved the problems from the ground up catering to the business and read and researcheda lot before starting to think about solutions."
Now what's more exciting than their journey and how they approached the competition is the tidbits of advice they have for the freshers and people who have been trying to win these competitions.
Khondakar Jubayer thinks that participants should interact with any active seniors in this arena, use their feedback channels, review their solutions, slides, etc. Apart from that, he suggested that joining a club in the university is very crucial because nowadays most clubs arrange workshops, member development programmes, intra competitions, etc. which will come in handy for the newbies.
When asked about their journey in the business competition arena, all four members from Team DIGITAAL have had their individual attempts with other teams on acing the case competitions, but they couldn't achieve much. Even after forming this team, they couldn't proceed to Round 2 of a competition in their first go. But they then did what most participants fail to do, be patient and not lose hope! They tried to figure out their previous mistakes and got bits of advice from the teams that did well in the previous competition. By sorting out their errors, they prepared themselves for the next competition and came out victorious.
Agreeing to this, Nafis added, "My advice would be to not lose faith even when they fail. Failure is a part of success and accelerates personal development if you can channel the energy the right way."
It has to be noted that business competitions are not the end of the world and not everyone will come out victorious. It is better to view it as a learning opportunity and implement it in the practical business world.
As Samia said, "I started participating in business competitions to get the gist of the real-life business world. Almost all the skills needed in the competitions, be it teamwork, time-management, idea generation, idea pitching, and even slide making, are among the top skills required for the workplace and practical life.
She further thinks that business case competition allows one to explore what is happening inside business organisations, and what might be needed to overcome any issues in the most realistic way.
These competitions are just a platform for students to channel their inner potential as business leaders and what their idea is about the functionality of different industries. It is a big opportunity for students to apply their theoretical learning and gain practical knowledge and experiences. Participants should view it as a learning platform more than a competitive field, only then they'll never cease to grow.
The writer is a junior at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka. email@example.com