The Five-Fold Path to Cracking Case Competitions

Our experience of the Kilts Center Marketing Case Competition

by Anant Bansal, Class of 2020

Anant Bansal Headshot.jpg

Let us begin by asking a simple question: what do mittens, football tickets and interviews have in common? Answer: they were all prizes in this year’s MillerCoors and Kilts Center Marketing Case Competition. With such awesome prizes and street cred at stake, there’s certainly more than enough reason to participate in these competitions.

“All of that is fine, but it takes so much time with no guarantee of victory at the end!” some of you might exclaim. Well, worry not. In the grand tradition of Booth’s “pay it forward” culture, we are here to give our two (or technically, five) cents to ensure victory in such competitions.

Rule #1: Make data your best friend.

Booth is known for its analytical rigor, and we found that MillerCoors was looking for that same analytical capability in the teams’ recommendations. We tried our best to tease out insights from the data we were provided and use those insights to ground our creativity in solid evidence. When the judges remarked, “Oh, we didn’t even know that we gave you that data”, we guessed we had done this bit correctly.

The winning team, from L to R: Christina Balgeman, Anjali Jospeh, Catherine Pastiak, Anant Bansal. Not featured: Julia Marshall.

The winning team, from L to R: Christina Balgeman, Anjali Jospeh, Catherine Pastiak, Anant Bansal. Not featured: Julia Marshall.

Rule #2: Make sure your friend is well dressed though.

We can see all the ex-consultants rolling their eyes here, “Duh”. We agree wholeheartedly. We realized that data for data’s sake, or simply jotting down ideas, is not enough. We had to craft this into a compelling narrative. And so went several hours between 11pm and 1am on a Thursday making sure that our presentation of data was simple yet impactful, the ideas were presented crisply, and that the end result was a fluent story we could sell the audience on.

Rule #3: Work in motivated teams.

You might wonder, case competitions sound like a lot of work. And you’re quite right. As we all navigate the battlefield of recruiting, time can be a scarce resource. In our case, we were given a prompt and a huge data-pack on November 2 and were asked to present our findings on November 9—in the midst of non-stop recruiting events and group conferences. We struggle to think our output would have been as refined had it not been for each other’s contributions.

Rule #4: Work in diverse, motivated teams.

Another highly important facet our team was our diversity. Some had specialized in advertising, some in litigation and arbitration damages. Some knew how to make great graphics, others how to make pretty charts. Some knew what was happening in California, some didn’t know where California was! (Ok, the last one was a bit too much—but you get the point). This diversity enabled us to stress test our ideas on various levels and ensure that we had good answers for whatever queries the judges might raise. This lent itself to “a solid understanding of the core proposition”, as one judge later commented.

Rule #5: Have fun!

Last, but perhaps most importantly, have fun, y’all! Playing with numbers, brainstorming ideas, waking up at 6am on a Friday to practice the pitch: all of these would have been considerably more difficult had we not also had fun doing them. We let go of free booze on more than one occasion to work on this—that should be evidence enough.