Adapting to the Digital World: The 2021 BCom Case Competition

By Laura Fernandez

A decade since the inaugural BCom Case Competition took place, this flagship event is still giving Bachelor of Commerce students the opportunity to solve a real business challenge in a time-constrained manner. Just like in the real world.

Students signing up for the BCom Case Competition (or BComp) don’t find out who their industry client is, or what problem they need to solve, until the competition launches. With just seven days to get their solutions together, the competition is steep and the stakes are high.

“The BCom Case Competition is quite short in duration, thereby intensifying the work industry professionals would do. This means that it doesn’t clash with many other case competitions or work you may encounter during your studies.” - Jonathan Hatzimihalis, Team NFS Ltd.

The winning team from the 2021 BComp, NFS Ltd. (Alexander Thorp, Christina Pase, Domenic Filippone and Jonathan Hatzimihalis) formed as a partial team combined with a random allocation. The pairing proved to be effective for the team, who gelled on their shared sense of motivation while bringing individual perspectives and creative ideas together.

Team NFS Ltd. (L-R): Domenic Filippone, Alexander Thorp, Jonathan Hatzimihalis, Christina Pase

The BComp provides an ideal platform for students to test out consulting before entering the workforce, with no experience required. SPP, the competition’s Principal Partner has run the Crack-the-Case skills development workshop for a number of years, bringing their consultants in to guide students. Team NFS Ltd. took the consultants’ feedback onboard, developing technical and analytical skills in the process. “They not only showed me how to create an effective and appealing slide deck, but also how to connect with the audience and judges.” - Jonathan Hatzimihalis Team NFS Ltd.

“Our team, many of whom have been past participants, enjoy sharing expertise and knowledge with the students on how to approach solving complex business challenges. Our team are involved in judging the competition rounds and the Final, and are always impressed with the enthusiasm, ideas, and presentations.” - David Mackay, Partner – SPP

This year, teams were tasked with developing a strategy and marketing plan to grow Salesforce’s revenue in the small and medium business (SMB) market in Australia. A timely challenge, the case depicted how COVID-19 has changed the traditional sales, marketing and customer service methods for these businesses, prompting them to adopt new software and processes to better reach customers in the digital world.

“We were all really excited as we didn’t know a whole lot about Salesforce and the case seemed very open-ended, which gave us a lot of freedom to be creative and take our solution anywhere.” - Alexander Thorp, Team NFS Ltd.

Finalist teams chose to focus on specific industries in presenting their solutions, ranging from healthcare to construction. Team NFS Ltd. scored first place for their strategy to develop a construction-specific CRM to leverage off the low digital uptake and large market from this industry.

All finalists get to take home a share in the prize money, with the winners also guaranteed interviews for SPP’s internship and graduate programs as well as the Faculty’s International Case Competition program.

David Mackay (Partner, SPP) encourages the students to “continue exploring their new-learned problem-solving skills to make a positive impact in the world, whether that’s through a career in consulting or another pursuit.” Alexander Thorp (Team NFS Ltd.) is not yet set on a career path, but notes “this experience definitely opened my horizons to a career in consulting. I plan to use my prize money to continue to support my education in the present and the future.”

The 2021 BComp was delivered online with the support of the BCom Case Competition student committee. The Faculty of Business and Economics would like to acknowledge and thank the competition sponsors and judges: SPP, UBS, and CFA Society Melbourne, and case partner, Salesforce.

Are you a business interested in getting involved in the BCom Case Competition? Please contact us to discuss how we can work together.

Are you a Bachelor of Commerce student wanting to participate in the next Case Competition? Find more information here.