Belgrade Business International Case Competition 2018: Foster Goes to Serbia

UW’s BBICC 2018 Team: Amanda Schmitz, Sophie Wong-on-Wing, Preston Gulledge, and Keenan Goodman.

In mid-April, four Foster undergraduates, Amanda Schmitz, Sophie Wong-on-Wing, Preston Gulledge, and Keenan Goodman, and their faculty coach, Leta Beard, headed to Belgrade, Serbia for the Belgrade Business Case Competition (BBICC). There, twenty teams from all over the world gathered for an intense week of case analysis. During the competition, held April 15-22, 2018, the students met challenges they had never faced before, including two five hour cases and one 24-hour case all involving real Serbian business issues. After five days of cultural events, like networking with their international peers and meeting the Prime Minister, and long nights analyzing cases and gaining an in depth knowledge of the Serbian business environment and culture, they arrived victorious, bringing the 2nd Place trophy home to Foster. To top it off, Preston earned the title of Best Presenter, a prestigious award in its own right considering the caliber of students competing at BBICC. As this was Foster’s first time participating in BBICC, and the students’ first time competing internationally as a team, it was an incredible achievement. Special thanks to their coach, Leta, for guiding them along the way and a huge congratulations to Amanda, Sophie, Keenan, and Preston for bringing home the silver. Read on for personal reflections from the team:

Leta, Preston, Sophie, Amanda, and Keenan celebrate their fantastic finish.

“Having never been outside of the country and lacking much experience traveling, Serbia was an awesome (and incredibly unique) place to start my international travels. The city of Belgrade has a rich history that we enjoyed exploring leading up to the competition.

The competition itself was extremely well planned and executed. Preston, Amanda, Sophie, and I worked through three of the most challenging business cases we had ever done and surpassed all of the expectations we had for ourselves. I’m glad to be walking away from BBICC with some incredible new friends from some of the best business schools from around the world.

It was an honor to represent the Foster School in Belgrade, Serbia! #forSerbia”

Keenan Goodman, ’19

Sophie, Leta, their BBICC Ambassador, Virdzinija, Amanda, and Preston.

“Competing in the Belgrade Business International Case Competition (BBICC) was nothing but surreal. There’s nothing quite like international case competitions, and nothing quite like BBICC. Before traveling 15+ hours across the globe — our one goal coming into the competition was simple: just don’t get last. And one week later, after three difficult cases ranging on topics from blockchain to IoT, and admittedly, a lot of caffeine, our team surpassed every expectation we had: finishing 2nd out of 20 teams from around the globe, and Preston Gulledge winning the Best Presenter Award. However, the competition was much more than just doing well: our team had the opportunity to meet the Prime Minister of Serbia, to be interviewed on national TV (reaching 2M+ Serbians!), and most importantly, to meet amazing new friends from around the world, and a new found appreciation for the sense of community that case competitions create around the world. BBICC is a competition driven by a passionate organizing committee and a tight business community, and it was an honor to partake in it. On a more personal note, upon looking back on my college experience, case competitions have played an imperative role in my college career: they are the forums for which I have learned, flexed, and applied new skills, fostered an interest in consulting, and met some of the most talented people from not just Foster, but from around the globe. Case competitions are at the heart of successful business schools — and it has been an absolute pleasure to be part of such a dynamic and supportive community over the past four years.”

Amanda Schmitz, ’18

Preston, Sophie, Amanda, and Keenan

“Representing the Foster School of Business at BBICC was unquestionably one of the greatest highlights of my time at UW. At BBICC, we were presented with some of the most challenging business cases my team has ever seen. The competition required us to not only understand the business complexities surrounding different industries but to quickly adapt to Serbian business culture. In the final round, I will never forget how we had the opportunity to present our solutions in front of the CTO, CIO, and managers of one of the biggest companies in Serbia. Aside from the cases, one of the most rewarding parts of the competition was meeting wonderful people from Serbia (such as the Prime Minister of Serbia!) and from all the competing universities. BBICC allowed me to expand my international network. Thank you to the Global Business Center, Leta for being a wonderful advisor, and Amanda, Keenan, and Preston — I could not have asked for a better team to compete with!”

Sophie Wong-on-Wing, ’18

Preston, Amanda, and Keenan during the Final Round presentations at BBICC 2018.

“Competing in Belgrade was the most challenging and rewarding experience of my educational career, bar none. It was an entire week of grappling with some of the most difficult questions I had ever been asked to answer, while going up against some of the brightest minds across the globe. We had the opportunity to meet some incredible people: from the Prime Minister of Serbia to Canadian ambassadors and from C-suite executives to brilliant students. I am still in contact with competitors and judges alike from the competition and will be for years to come. It was an absolute honor to have had this experience representing Foster on the international stage, and I am incredibly proud of our school’s accomplishments. When I look back on my college career this will be one of my proudest achievements. Thank you to Foster, the Global Business Center, and our amazing alumni and donors for giving us this opportunity.”

Preston Gulledge, ’18


The Global Business Center is proud to sponsor these students and promote international collaboration across the globe. To find out more about case competitions and opportunities to compete in them, follow the Global Business Center on Facebook and check out the Global Competitions page on the GBC website.