Global Virtual Case Competition 2020: Pivoting in a Pandemic

After over 21 years of hosting the UW Global Business Case Competition, we were extremely disappointed to have to cancel our in-person competition in April. However, this presented an opportunity for The Global Business Center to explore new avenues for bringing global business learning opportunities to Foster students.

We were excited to pilot the Global Virtual Case Competition this May as a new virtual opportunity for Foster Students to build their global business expertise. During this week-long competition, teams not only developed strategies to address global challenges with real world constraints – they also had to collaborate entirely online and come up with a solution in a short period of time. These skills are increasingly integral to global business careers today, where more teams are collaborating virtually across borders and under tight timelines. We’d also like to give a special thanks to our corporate judges. These individuals gave their time and shared their expertise to create a real-world learning opportunity for students.

After 7-days of intense analysis, students tackled a Harvard Business Case, “China Eastern’s World-Class Dream: Shanghai Based Globalization” with the following charge: The travel industry has been upended by the coronavirus pandemic, and airlines’ passenger traffic has collapsed. However, there is ongoing demand for cargo services. The management of China Eastern Airlines has hired consultants to recommend how the airline can pivot from carrying passengers to transporting cargo. Presentations included the following components: 1) Reminding management why globalization is an important part of China Eastern’s strategic focus, 2) Summarizing the key elements of China Eastern’s pre-coronavirus globalization strategy, 3) Performing a SWOT analysis of China Eastern’s cargo business at the present time, 4) Preparing a pivot-to-cargo plan.

Fourteen teams comprised of 55 UW students took one week to tackle the case. Of those teams, the top three competed in the Final Round on May 22 in front of a panel of corporate judges. View the Final Round Presentations here. After much deliberation from the judge panel, the Champions of the Global Virtual Case Competition were named – Team PM Consulting: Patricia Li, Stephanie Pao, Peony Situ, and Max Beeson. The judges were impressed with their innovative solution, their realistic and comprehensive analysis, and how they handled the Q&A session.

Team PM Consulting: Patricia Li, Stephanie Pao, Peony Situ, and Max Beeson

Congratulations are also in order for the 2nd Place Team – Seattle Premier: Bill Cheung-Daihe, Min Su Kim, Sarah Gu, and Samir Nasr. 

Seattle Premier: Bill Cheung-Daihe, Min Su Kim, Sarah Gu, and Samir Nasr

Please congratulate these students if you get the chance.

Finally, this competition would not be possible without the support of The Jackson School Center for Global Studies and East Asia Center. For more information about the Global Business Center Case Competition programming, please email [email protected].



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