Nov 21, 2017

The Value of the MBA Case Competition

By Stephiney Foley T'18

My first MBA admissions encounter was with Senior Associate Director of Admissions Amy Mitson at Tuck’s Palo Alto reception in 2015. I sat in a roomful of eager Tuck hopefuls trying to decipher whether Hanover could be my home away from home for the next two years. At the end of the presentation Amy paused for questions. I probingly inquired, “In the event that Tuck doesn’t have a club or event of my interest, will the administration support my endeavors to create one and what resources will be allocated to support student initiatives?” Without hesitation Amy responded with, “Absolutely! If you can think it, we can get it done.” And just like that, Tuck became the dream program I pursued.  

Prior to Tuck I spent seven and a half years in the Army as an active duty logistics officer serving in various leadership roles from managing teams of five in Afghanistan to commanding a company of 350 soldier linguists at the Defense Language Institute in California. Despite my leadership experiences, I had little clue what it meant to be a leader in finance, marketing, or consulting.

Tuck’s integrated core curriculum helped me build a comprehensive business foundation on subjects such as financial accounting, statistics, and capital markets. I then used case competitions as a means of testing the knowledge gained during my studies, as well as a way to explore the various careers available in business. During my first year, I competed in five case competitions ranging from stock pitches to market entry strategy to product design. I learned a great deal about how to solve problems in various industries and had a remarkable time with some of my best friends.

At the end of my first year I was selected to lead the case competition club. Three things were at the top of my mind as I headed into the final year of business school: 1.) How do I give back to Tuck in a meaningful way? 2.) How do I share the wonderful experiences I had with case competitions? 3.) Why do we not have an intercollegiate MBA case competition and share the beautiful campus with others? I resolved all these questions when I met April Salas, the executive director of the Revers Center for Energy. April and I met several times prior to leaving for my summer internship at Tesla. Her enthusiasm and support gave me the confidence to move forward with planning and executing the event.

Tuck MBA Case Competition with Tesla

In addition to participating teams from business schools including Wharton, Darden, Sloan, Haas, and Switzerland’s IMD, there was a waitlist of another half-dozen schools for Tuck's inaugural case competition.

On September 22, 2017, Amy Mitson’s words came true. After months of work with the school administration and faculty, Tuck hosted its first intercollegiate MBA case competition partnered with one of the tech industry’s most mystifying companies, Tesla Inc. For one day, the Upper Valley transformed into Silicon Valley. Aspiring techies from over 11 MBA programs around the world flocked to Dartmouth to solve a hypothetical business problem posed by the company. The event was a great success thanks to those who we endearingly label as the Tuck fabric; especially thanks to the Revers Center for Energy, the MBA Program Office, the Career Development Office, and the Communications Office who helped make the case competition a reality. 

Stephiney Foley T'18, Tuck MBA CandidateStephiney Foley T’18, a fellow with the Center for Private Equity and Entrepreneurship, conceived and organized a case competition at Tuck in the fall that presented a theoretical Tesla business challenge to teams of MBAs.