The MBS Case Competition challenges graduate students to pitch innovative solutions to real business problems faced by an organisation. This year, the ‘Director’s Cut’ student team impressed Village Roadshow and were awarded first place in the competition.
For the first time since 2019, the 2022 MBS Case Competition was delivered in person, but also catered to those studying remotely. Following an extended period of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on social activities, consumers had been driven out of public spaces so, this year’s case was particularly interesting. Cinema operator Village Roadshow challenged students to re-invent the ‘cinema experience’, following an industry-wide stagnation in Box Office sales. With competition from streaming services and lockdowns resulting in demand for a digital experience, students needed to reimagine the future of cinema and the consumer experience.
The Director’s Cut comprised of students Paula Andrea Beltran Vera, Riya Ajay Kondbattulwar, Maanvi Mudgil and Carla Alejandra Ortiz Zertuche. The team collectively took home a $2,000 cash prize, as well as complimentary Village Cinemas Gold Class tickets. Village Roadshow surprised all contestants with an exclusive movie screening following the competition, with Chief Transformation Officer, Michael Fagan noting, “There were so many great ideas and so many fantastic, feasible solutions that we could use and look to put into practice.”
Melbourne Business School students can join the competition at any point during their degree, so participants are often at different stages of their careers and have individual reasons for participating.
For Alejandra, the MBS Case Competition was described as “a unique opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge learnt in class to a real-life business case, learn about consulting methodology and meet others in the business sector.”
Highlights from the 2022 MBS Case Competition
Paula, a Master of Management (Human Resources) student with a background in technology noted, “we were women from different nationalities and different educational backgrounds. When met each other for the first time, we realised how diverse our team was - Alejandra is studying finance and Maanvi is in marketing.”
Alejandra also noted the team’s diversity as a key strength. “It is through this diversity that we can deliver to the best of our capacity by integrating and working with a wide variety of perspectives, abilities and priorities.”
Paula signed up because she saw the competition as an opportunity to solve a real business problem in a competitive environment in Australia. “It really motivated me and activated my inner competitor and businesswoman.” Paula also wanted to take advantage of the networking opportunities and showcase her potential while learning from industry sponsors and others in the university community.
Although students can form their own teams, the Director’s Cut members joined the competition as individuals and the team was formed through allocations made by Faculty staff. “I (Alejandra) trusted the allocation process because I believed that competitions like these usually attract highly motivated and curious individuals.”
In addition to being a diverse and motivated group, the team worked well together. In their initial brainstorming, everyone listened without interruption as each member shared their perspectives on the business case, respecting each person’s ideas and assumptions. They identified limitations before consolidating their ideas, then shaped their business proposal, which needed to be both innovative and cost-effective.
As part of the competition, students have the opportunity to participate in skills development workshops on how to crack-a-case, and presenting-to-win. The Crack-the-Case workshop was run by the competition’s Principal Partner, SPP, a high-impact consulting firm.
At the Finals, the Director’s Cut addressed five key areas in the cinema experience designed around the customer-experience journey, which impressed both the judges and industry partners. Paula Allen from the CFA Society described the finalists’ performance as tremendous.
“There’s a lot of genuine care and support shown within the teams, which shows that they’re actually able to form bonds and support each other, which is really important in a consulting environment.” - Ben Apted, Senior Partner and Co-Owner, SPP
Riya’s highlights from the competition include networking with industry partners and fellow MBS students; the rush of the competition and competitive spirit in the business cohort; and ultimately, her team’s win. “The key to success is perseverance.” In the next two years, Riya aims to work as a strategy and transaction services consultant in a consulting firm. “I am excited to learn and develop my skills through my master’s degree. I hope to make an impact in the industry through my knowledge and experience.”
HR student Paula is aiming to grow her professional experience in Australia and also hopes to work in consulting in HR or in a role with a focus on customer experience. She sees her competition experience as preparation for employment in Australia and a learning experience in the local business sector.
Alejandra has similar views: “As an international student, I am often confronted by the challenge of understanding the local market… so working through the hurdles faced by real businesses in Australia makes me feel I have made significant improvements to my employability.”
Following the competition, Alejandra has also identified her passion for supporting people and organisations - to understand their challenges and build sustainable solutions for diverse businesses. “I aspire to pursue a career in consulting and this competition has been the stepping stone that will hopefully lead me in that direction. I wish all students would have the opportunity to experience this at least once throughout their studies.”
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Are you a Melbourne Business School student wanting to participate in the next Case Competition? Find more information here.