University of South Carolina

Moore School team wins Montreal case competition

By Peggy Binette,, 803-777-7704

A team of Darla Moore School of Business undergraduate students took first place in one of the world’s top business case competitions Saturday.

The students -- all seniors -- were among 24 teams from nine countries to compete in the 5th John Molson International Undergraduate Case Competition in Montreal, held Feb. 17 – 23.

To get to the finals, the Moore School team had to win three cases in preliminary rounds, its divisional round and a 24-hour competition, in which it scored the highest point total.

“This is the first time our team competed together,” said Jocelyn Paonita, a senior from Summerville, S.C. “Professor (Patrick) Demouy tries to give the opportunity to as many students as possible, so we’re a new group. Fortunately, we all get along extremely well and had skill sets that complemented one another, so it worked out perfectly.”

After days of competition, five final teams had to create and present a business plan for Nivea’s launch of men’s shaving and skin care products in Canada. Rounding out the competition were teams from the National University of Singapore, Alto (formerly Helsinki School of Economics), Queensland University of Technology and the University of Alberta.

Paonita, who was named Best Female Presenter for the entire competition, said the swift pace of the competition was difficult.

"The time constraint is a huge challenge," she said.

“In traditional case competitions, we have 24 hours to read the case, break it down, develop a solution or solutions as well as a 20-minute presentation. In this competition, we had only three hours per case for the first three events. This also meant that the first time we saw the entire presentation was when we were presenting it in front of the judges. Fortunately, our team understood the cases well enough and were on the same page to the point where the judges ‘couldn’t even tell,’ as they told us,” said Paonita, whose teammates included Adam Kess, Roswell, Ga.; Alexis Morath, Greenville; and Trey Gordner, Fayetteville, N.C.

Faculty advisor Demouy, who has coached Moore School undergraduate and graduate case teams for 14 years, says the team is the best he can recall.

“This team was in one of the toughest divisions at the competition, and they gave one of the finest presentations that I have ever seen by any team,” Demouy said. “They provided a well thought out and implementable solution to real world problems. I’m incredibly proud.”

In early April the Moore School undergraduate case team will defend its title in the 13th annual Royal Road University Case Competition in Victoria, Canada. The Moore School has won the competition three of the four times it has competed.

This weekend, March 1 – 2, graduate students at the Moore School will head to the University of Denver’s Race and Case Ethics Case Competition where it placed second last year.

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Posted: 02/25/13 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 03/01/13 @ 11:34 AM | Permalink