RIICC Champions Present to WA State Wine

After winning the General Undergraduate Track of the 2017 Russell Investments International Case Competition, Rose Jao, Cody Ng, Skye Scofield and Davin Yeom received a special opportunity: a visit to the Washington State Wine Commission’s downtown headquarters and the chance to present their winning pitch to Steve Warner, Washington State Wine’s President, and his team. Below are some of their thoughts on the experience:

The opportunity to consult with the Washington State Wine Commission was very unique and different from the traditional case competitions we are used to. In case competitions, we are held to strict rules and a time limit, but this opportunity allowed us to communicate more easily and really gauge what parts of our product or marketing strategy was feasible. I was thrilled to learn that they had researched and already started considering many of the marketing strategies we had recommended in our presentation. We had a great time discussing how those strategies would look in real-life application. It was also very interesting to hear them brainstorm about our product line proposal and how they could modify it to build a brand reputation for Washington wines in the Chinese market!”

From this experience, I learned more about the intricacies of the Chinese market and some of the challenges of wineries expanding there. In particular, I learned more about legal regulations for wine companies expanding into China. I was surprised that the Commission really took in and respected our ideas. They genuinely seemed interested and passionate about our ideas, and that was super cool! Being able to present in front of “real” clients was a great experience because they were able to provide real-world insights and challenges that they have faced. I greatly enjoyed hearing about their experiences travelling through China for work and exploring China’s wine industry. I was also fascinated by their initial exploration into WeChat, an app I used daily (hourly) during my time studying abroad in Beijing.”

The thrill of case competitions comes from exploring a new industry with every case. I have done competitions on Fitbit’s data & privacy security, Emirates Airlines, childhood diarrhea in Kenya, the Volkswagen scandal, and more. We never expected wine to be this year’s RIICC topic, and were even more surprised when presented with the opportunity to visit the client themselves! We loved discussing our strategy and research with the Washington State Wine Commission and seeing where our thoughts aligned, what factors we didn’t consider, and how realistic our solution was. It was an awesome glimpse into real world consulting.”

I love case competitions because they allow me and my teammates to apply our coursework in a real world setting. Our visit to the Washington State Wine Commission allowed us to take this one step further. We were able to deliver our solutions to people who could implement them. It was so rewarding to hear that the questions we were trying to answer during the case are the same ones they are wrestling with now. Opportunities like these complete the education cycle, allowing us to turn our knowledge into real change for people, businesses, and the world.”


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