Grill’d Consulting goes to Gainesville

By Weronkia Sagan, Vivienne Kerslake, Lucas Bay and Trinh Nguyen

Bachelor of Commerce students Weronkia Sagan, Vivienne Kerslake, Lucas Bay and Trinh Nguyen travelled to Gainesville, Florida to compete in the 2023 Heavener International Case Competition (HICC), hosted by the University of Florida.

This year’s competition saw a twist to its usual format, challenging students to tackle three cases with time limits of 12, 4 and 16 hours each. Adding to the challenge, the longer cases were uniquely split into 2 case questions each, with an unusual presentation format of 2 minutes of uninterrupted speech, followed by 10 minutes of discussion with judges.

The University of Melbourne team - named Grill’d Consulting after the beloved Melbourne burger chain found the experience very rewarding and made many international and Australian friends. The HICC prides itself on its moniker of being the “funniest international case competition” and welcoming all of its participants with Florida’s signature southern hospitality. Indeed, Grill’d Consulting’s host, Shane went above and beyond within her role. An undergraduate student at the University of Florida, Shane took the team to her favorite brunch spots, local parks with amazing views of the swamps, a riveting collegiate basketball game, and a Super Bowl watch party, even feeding the team during cases.

Left to right: Weronika Sagan, Vivienne Kerslake, Lucas Bay, Trinh Nguyen

Having landed at Gainesville airport at midnight, the team was ready for a week packed with activities ahead but did not anticipate just what was in store for them. They were chauffeured to St. Augustine’s beaches (America’s oldest settlement), an alligator farm, the Swamp (the largest football stadium in Florida), and Buc-ee’s (a southern twist on supermarkets). Throughout the week, the team also had the opportunity to socialize and make life-long friends with students from universities including the University of Toronto, the University of Miami, Corvinus University and a few familiar faces such as the University of New South Wales and Queensland University of Technology.

On the trip home, the team reflected on the many skills they learnt throughout their international case competition experience, from slide deck creation, solution ideation, and compelling presentation techniques, to time management and the ability to work collaboratively under pressure. “Teams must often work through disagreements over the ‘right’ solution strict deadlines, and seamlessly answering questions from judges together as a united front; a team that can do all of these things is basically unstoppable!”

Participants in the International Case Competition program come from a variety of backgrounds from first years to third years, and experienced case competitors to rookies looking to cut their teeth. Bachelor of Commerce students are encouraged to apply for this coveted opportunity, offering skills development and international experiences like no other.