Case work started early for a few ECs this semester when they traveled to Houston to take part in the 5th Annual Rice University Marketing Case Competition. “It was the most intense 48 hours I’ve spent in marketing,” said Darcy Raymond (OA), “but I can’t think of a better way to spend my Friday and Saturday nights.”
Their time and energy paid off when the HBS team won 2nd place at the competition, beating out teams from University of Chicago, Sloan School of Management (MIT), Wharton and other top schools from across the country.
Sponsored by the HBS Marketing Club, the team, consisting of Cara Critzer (OE), Mike Kernish (OD), Robyn Bolton (OA) and Darcy Raymond (OA), arrived in Houston on January 14 and started working on the case the moment it was handed out – 9pm Friday night. The case was written by HBS Professor Rohit Deshpande and dealt with Modi-Revlon, a joint partnership between Indian company Modi Mundipharma and American company Revlon, and its difficulty growing its cosmetics business in India.
After reading the case Friday night, the team began work bright and early Saturday morning. “We spent the morning discussing all the basics of Marketing. The 4Ps, the 5Cs, all of it. We talked about the current status and the changes Modi-Revlon would have to make to its business and marketing strategies in order to stop its declining sales trend,” explained Cara. “By lunch we had a very solid, well thought-out strategy backed up by incredibly realistic and effective actions.”
After a quick break for lunch, the team spent the next six hours finalizing the details of its recommendations, completing the necessary quantitative analyses and compiling its presentation. At 6:00 the presentation was handed in and the team enjoyed a delicious dinner of authentic Texas BBQ before returning to its preparation room to practice their presentation. Despite offers to attend an evening out in Houston’s bustling club district, the team decided to make it an early night in anticipation of a 10:00am presentation to the judges.
The wake-up calls came early Sunday morning and the team was on-campus and practicing by 8:00am. At 10:00 the HBS team entered Rice’s auditorium and began its presentation to a panel of four high ranking marketing executives. After a 20 minute presentation and three questions from the judges, the team was done and it was all over but the waiting.
At 3:00 the winners were announced. University of Chicago took 3rd, HBS was awarded 2nd and the home team, Rice University, won 1st. “We had the chance to watch Rice’s presentation and it was outstanding,” said Mike, “All of the judges and many of the audience members complimented us on the depth and clarity of our strategic thinking. We were told it was a very close decision and we feel great with the feedback that we had the strongest analysis.”
After the usual blitz of photo ops and hand-shaking, the HBS team packed up camp and headed to the airport. “Overall, it was a great weekend,” Robyn recalls. “Nothing beats the opportunity to spend almost 48 hours on a case while occasionally meeting people from other MBA programs. Of course, the best part was wandering around Houston with a giant check. It was surprisingly easy to get it through airport security.”