A team of four undergraduates from USC’s Marshall School of Business won first place at the National University of Singapore International Case Competition held at the National University of Singapore on Sept. 16, making it Marshall’s second case competition victory in a row.
The team — seniors Emily Dong, Nikunj Mistry and Calvin Tay, and junior Michelle Li — was one of two U.S. teams at the competition. Their opponents came from 11 different schools and seven countries, including South Korea and Thailand.
Members of the team were surprised when they found out that they had won the competition.
“We were ecstatic,” said Quentin Fleming, professor of management and organization and the team’s faculty adviser. “It was one of those moments.”
Dong, a senior majoring in accounting, said the team didn’t anticipate the win.
“We were hoping to place, because we didn’t expect first,” Dong said. “It was a good surprise.”
Mistry, a senior majoring in business administration and economics, said the case competition was particularly difficult because students were only given eight hours — as opposed to 24 to 48 hours in other competitions — to read a 20- to 30-page text about a business problem, analyze it and present their recommendations to a panel of judges.
“In a lot of case competitions, you know how much time you have and have a chance to prepare before you start the competition, but this time we really had no idea,” Mistry said.
The other U.S. team was from UC Berkeley. Thammasat University from Thailand placed second and National University of Singapore placed third.
Fleming said that for USC, this win is particularly significant because it shows that Marshall students have a lot of initiative.
“They enjoy challenges and really step in and rise to the occasion,” Fleming said.
And this has been happening for a while.
“Marshall has been winning more than our fair share in the last two and a half years,” Fleming said. “We’ve really kicked into high gear.”
This is USC’s second victory at an international case competition since the fall of 2009. Marshall has also consistently done well in other international competitions, Fleming said.
USC regularly holds one of the largest case competitions in Los Angeles every spring. About 30 universities around the world attend and the USC team has won that competition.
“I don’t think that was really good manners,” Fleming said.