IESE – Roland Berger International MBA Case Competition

It takes a lot of guts to stand in front of a crowd of people you’ve barely known for two days and talk for 15 straight minutes. It takes even more guts to convince people about the best way to improve a company while its CEO is sitting right in front of you. But the HKUST team did exactly that, and was crowned winners for the 2019 IESE Roland Berger International MBA Case Competition.

HKUST Team Changmin, Theodric, Ruby, and Alexander

HKUST Team Changmin, Theodric, Ruby, and Alexander

How did we get this far? We were a bunch of students who got together and thought we’d make a good team, and tried competing for fun in our Internal Case Competition. It turned out that we actually had some real potential when we placed high enough to get funding support to a case competition of our choice. 

Our team chose IESE Roland Berger because hey, it’s Barcelona, we could mix in some Europe time during the adjacent Chinese New Year break too, right? While that much was true, we also spent countless hours during EPS and during our own free time to do our own practice cases, trying to work out whether or not we can make a defensible recommendation and present it in the limited time available to us. 

The IESE staff called me “Alenxander” the entire time I was there

The IESE staff called me “Alenxander” the entire time I was there

The competition was grueling and a true test of our stamina, grit, and teamwork, but the Roland Berger staff also kept us entertained. We had lavish dinners with generous portions of calçot and other meats, though the HKUST team quickly gained a reputation for being the hungriest of the teams that were there. 

The guys were definitely eager to fill their stomachs.  Some of us were even willing to have a bit of wine, but definitely do not drink too much before the competition is over!

The guys were definitely eager to fill their stomachs.

Some of us were even willing to have a bit of wine, but definitely do not drink too much before the competition is over!

During the presentations, we were able to make full use of the skills taught to us from EPS, including business problem solving, marketing, financial analysis, making opening gambits, and Q&A preparation. All of the practice paid off as we were given the W above nine other prestigious schools, a first for HKUST at this competition! We were especially proud that we were able to win this competition without having any prior work experience in consulting.

After the competition, we had nonstop wine tasting with the other business school teams, along with unhealthily large portions of paella to keep our stomachs padded with carbs. Finally, we ended with a spin around the Barcelona club scene, where what happened there stays there 🤐

We could not have gotten this far without help from our advisor, Professor Chris Doran, as well as Kid and Diana from the 2017 Intake, who shared their insights on how best to prepare. Here’s to hoping we keep the success going!

Team HKUST on top of IESE Business School Building (mostly) giving out hearts

Team HKUST on top of IESE Business School Building (mostly) giving out hearts