Today was the semi-annual Villanova School of Business Bartley BriefCase Challenge. The event is held each semester for our junior business majors and involves their analysis of a Harvard Business School case.
This past Wednesday, over 200 students were split into 48 teams, each with four or five students. It was at that time that the case is given to them for the first time. This year’s case dealt with Amazon. Over the next two days, the students get together to discuss the case, do their analysis, come up with a set of recommendations, and then prepare a presentation. This is in addition tot heir regular classes and extracurricular activities.
The preliminary round of competition took place this morning, with the teams’ solutions evaluated by judging panels comprised of VSB faculty and 40 business executives who had volunteered to serve in this role. Each panel evaluates four team presentations, and selects the best team from their group. At the end of this round, a luncheon is held for all participants and then the winning teams from each panel are announced.
These twelve teams advance to the semifinal round which is held after lunch. From that set of presentations, the top four are selected to present in the championship round, from which the winning teams are selected.
Prizes were awarded to the finalists in the championship round as follows:
- First Place: $500 per team member
- Second Place: $250 per team member
- Other Finalists: $100 per team member
The event gives the students the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills they have accumulated up to that point in time, and to showcase those skills in front of business school alumni. It’s also a great opportunity for the alumni to reconnect with the school and to share their experiences with the students through the networking that takes placed during the event.
The BriefCase Challenge has become one of the hallmarks of the VSB student experience, and I know I came away impressed with the quality of the students’ ideas, and their analytical, presentation, and teamwork skills.
I am already looking forward to next Fall’s competition; if any alumni are reading this and would like to get involved, just let me know!