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Warwick Economics student participates in the JMUCC

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Warwick Economics student participates in the JMUCC

A Warwick Economics student - Christian Orr, was part of a team that represented the University of Warwick at the John Molson Undergraduate Case Competition (JMUCC).

Each year, John Molson School of Business at Concordia University host its annual multi-round case competition in Montreal, Canada, where student teams from twenty eight renowned business schools compete in solving real world business problems.

The JMUCC is the largest undergraduate event of its kind and brings together some of the the brightest and passionate students from around the world to participate in a week-long competition challenging their decision-making, strategic thinking and problem solving skills.

Christian, who is in the final year of the BSc Mathematics and Economics, was amongst four students chosen to represent the University of Warwick at JMUCC in February 2020. He documented each of his seven days at the competition and reflected on how fortunate he was to participate in such an event.

Seven Day Overview

Day 1 - The first day at JMUCC was marked by an opening ceremony and welcome drinks. It was a great opportunity for us to get to know our student guide from JMUCC and to meet the other students from the 28 other universities that were competing.

Day 2 - 4 - The following day was the first of 3 days of preliminary 3-hour cases. Each day we were required to solve a business case before presenting to a panel of expert judges including executives working at the client company. The first round involved a health insurance provider that was looking to launch a new product to increase revenue. The second was a health charity that wanted to tackle low philanthropy in Quebec and a lack of talent in their workforce. The final case was an AI product launch, deciding which industries would be most beneficial to enter.

The lack of an internet connection made these cases particularly challenging but made me realise a key strength of our team. Each member studied a different subject (PPE, Accounting and Finance, Business Management, and Maths and Economics) and had a different array of experiences to draw from. Having different ideas shared from Warwick Discourse Society, Warwick Incubator, TEDxWarwick, and Warwick Consulting Services created a vast range of ideas and viewpoints that we could include in our presentation.

The 20-minute presentations were tough; having only had 3 hours to familiarise ourselves with a company before presenting to judges who had years of experience working at the client company. This also made for an interesting Q&A where we had to quickly think on our feet and make sure that our recommendation was robust enough to stand up to scrutiny.

As the only team travelling without a coach, our team really benefitted from the quick feedback loop provided by the judge's feedback after presenting. We made detailed notes and were able to quickly adopt these improvements into the following cases.

Day 5 - We were then given a rest day where we were free to explore Montreal. Our student guide was great at showing us the best local food and introducing us to Canada’s favourite sport; ice hockey. We first tried ice skating where our experience of shuffling slowly around the outer edges of the rink really made us appreciate the skill of the Canadian Montreals, when watching them play later that evening at the Bell Centre.

Day 6 & 7 - The final case was a 24-hour case from Walmart and required a new technological innovation to improve the customer experience and a plan to expand in the healthcare sector. This was a great opportunity to showcase our learnings from the previous rounds. We had a few surprises thrown our way, receiving changes to the project tasks and being told at short notice of meetings with a panel from Walmart to ask questions. This was done to simulate a real-life business scenario in which you need to quickly react to unforeseen changes. Despite this, we were able to provide a solution with a detailed implementation plan and were able to fully justify the benefits. Unfortunately, our team did not make it into the finals.

Final Reflection

It was an experience that I and my teammates thoroughly enjoyed. It was a unique opportunity to meet like-minded students from all over the world and present and gain feedback on our ideas from a diverse range of industry experts. I would highly recommend this experience to any other student curious about business and strategy.