This Spring Quarter, four Foster Undergraduates (Emma Dahleen, Patricia Li, Kelly Lan, and Josephine Beaudoin) and their faculty advisor (Leta Beard) had a chance to compete in the 2022 RSM STAR International Case Competition at Erasmus University. The team tackled two cases at RSM including a 12-hour case about Domino’s Pizza, and a 24-hour case focused on IKEA. While the competition was intense, with 16 top business schools in attendance, the detailed and original solution developed by the Foster School team propelled them to 2nd place.
Outside of the competition itself, the students had a chance to network with business students from around the world, take in the Rotterdam scenery, and apply their learnings from the classroom in a real-world setting. We would like to give a huge thanks to RSM for hosting an incredibly well-run competition, with fierce competition and engaged judges. Read on to hear more from some of the students below:
Emma Dahleen | Junior: “My engagement in Case Competitions at the University of Washington has truly changed my life. They have shaped my future career with internship experience, provided me with some of the strongest friendships I could ever ask for, grown my professional network, and now have given me a fresh perspective on international business. For the vast majority of my competition experience, all of these assets have come from solving case after case behind a screen. The 2022 RSM Case Competition marked the 2nd time in my life where I was able to shake hands with the jury panel in real time, and received actual applause as opposed to clapping emoticons over a screen at the end of my closing.
The Zoom environment has taught me many valuable lessons, some of which we were even forced to recycle in this case, but nothing could replace the opportunity to engage in person with 16 teams of students from all across the globe who not only helped me to look at solving a case from a new, global perspective, but became my great friends. Throughout the competition, we solved a 12-hour case for Domino’s on implementing a new HR strategy and a 24-hour case for IKEA on reaching future customers, with networking events, company visits, and exploring the cities of Rotterdam and Amsterdam sprinkled in between. Packed days of activities led to tired minds and full hearts, and I know I speak for my entire team when I say being surrounded by our competition 24/7 put our heads in the game when it came to both cases. And although I leave Rotterdam with greater knowledge on case solving, new friends, and plenty of great memories, the piece of this trip that will stick with me most is how incredibly proud I am of my team.
My three partners are some of the strongest women I have ever met, and even in the face of some unique, difficult challenges, they pushed through to help us earn 2nd place overall in the competition. We truly accomplished what felt like the impossible after disruptions due to Covid, and I could not be more thrilled to have been afforded the opportunity to work with such talented, professional women guided by our dedicated coach, Leta Beard. I will never forget my time abroad for this competition, and would recommend case competitions to any student, no matter your level of experience.”
Patricia Li | Senior: “The 2022 RSM Star Case Competition is more than just a competition. It was a ten-day adventure of meeting amazing people from across the globe, exploring local cultures and initiatives, solving real business problems that are relevant to all of us, and getting even closer with my team – Kelly, Emma, Josephine, and coach Leta, who are all, in my honest opinion, angels.
We were asked to solve two real business challenges, one requesting immediate, short-term solutions, and one focusing on long term growth. By talking to the business partners and touring the IKEA headquarters, we were introduced to the company through a brand-new perspective. Being able to see how companies uphold their values in every aspect of the operation was an incredible experience for me, and I am truly grateful that I was able to participate in this competition before I graduate. This experience was unforgettable. I took home friendship, honor, great memory, and a little bit of COVID (left it there before I came back so don’t worry). I would love to do it again.”
Kelly Lan | Senior: “Representing Foster in the RSM STAR Case Competition in Rotterdam, Netherlands was an incredibly rewarding opportunity to connect with peers from around the world and compete in two case competitions during the week. One of my favorite activities was exploring Rotterdam and seeing the innovative solutions the city was taking to progress toward a more sustainable and circular future. We also had the opportunity to visit the IKEA Delft headquarters, which was helpful for our IKEA case, addressing the question of how IKEA can serve the next generation of consumers while staying authentic to the IKEA concept and traditional in-store experience. We recommended an AI-driven app solution inspired by IKEA’s iconic comic figure that is currently on their furniture assembly manuals, known as Gubbe! One of the key lessons I learned from both cases and being part of an international case competition is the importance of having a global mindset – we took inspiration from our own background, but we must also consider how business solutions can be localized to various international markets.
Although there were many unforgettable experiences, the small, but meaningful moments are also deeply ingrained in my mind, including all the interactions with my teammates and peers from different countries. I loved hearing about everyone’s diverse educational and cultural backgrounds and the way we all bonded over the excitement (and stress) of the case competition. During the case solving period, I was constantly inspired by the creativity, resilience, and work ethic of my own teammates, despite the unexpected obstacles we faced and of course, the sleep deprivation. I’ll never forget the adrenaline-filled minutes and seconds leading up to our presentations, and the overwhelming gratitude I felt for my team afterwards.”
Josephine Beaudoin | Junior: “This past week, I had the opportunity to represent the Foster School of Business in the Rotterdam School of Management Case Competition. I can honestly say, this was the experience of a lifetime. The competition was packed full of activities, having myself and my team members exploring Rotterdam’s innovations, professional networking, embarking on cultural visits, and partaking in social events from morning until night. Throughout the week, I was also able to interact with students from all around the world, coming from 16 different universities and three different continents. Each and every team was so welcoming and excited, and it felt refreshing to be surrounded by so many people with such diverse perspectives.
The cases themselves were challenging, and really put my team and I to the test. We ended up developing a strategy for IKEA during the 24-hour case with an AI bot named Gubbe, who acted as a virtual guide and interior designer for the IKEA app with full synergy with the IKEA concept and brand values. I’m so grateful for my amazing team, having the opportunity to case solve with these incredible women was my favorite part of the entire competition. Winning 2nd place on the international stage was the highlight of my college career, and I honestly cannot wait until the next time I can compete again!”
Click here to learn more about the RSM STAR International Business Case Competition: https://rsmstar.nl/casecompetition/.