The School of Management of Yale University held an Integrated Leadership Case Competition On April 6th and invited the top business schools in North East US region to join the competition. The team consisting of four first year MBA students — Andrew Barnes, Carrie Zhou, Effie Li and Monira Linda — represented the Smeal College of Business MBA Program from Penn State and went to New Haven to face off against other MBA students from leading programs such as Wharton, NYU Stern and Yale SOM. Before we were selected by the Yale committee, we tried to organize our team through a strategic mix since Yale University has a diversified culture with more focus on humanity and non-profit spirit. Our four team members had different backgrounds but shared similar values and we made a good story which matched the qualifications that the Yale committee was looking for. Finally, we got the opportunity and we felt very excited to learn from and exchange opinions with other MBA programs.
Due to the visitation weekend in Smeal, our team left State College pretty late and arrived at New Haven at 3am on the competition day. The team members rested a little then went to the Yale School of Management in the early morning. The MBA students there held a warm reception and led eight teams to the individual team rooms. Different from the other case competitions, each team was accompanied by an observer who would give feedback to the team at the end of the presentation.
The raw case we used was about the investment banking industry and involved a lot of information, data and media coverage. We had only three hours to finish brainstorming, power point design and presentation practice. During the intensive team work period, we tried to leverage everyone’s knowledge and ideas, and finally finished the work right before the deadline. After we entered the final round, our team facilitator told us that our team did good job on active communication, respect and patience to all members and creative ideas.
We entered the final round with a creative approach and implementable recommendations and won second place of the competition. The champion was a team consisting of second year Wharton MBA students and we learned a lot from their BCG style power point design and strong presentation skills. After the competition, we also communicated and interacted with many other participants and made new friends through this event. Yale MBA students also expressed their strong interest in taking part in a case competition held by Smeal in the next year and we hope we will organize one and attract other MBA programs to come to State College in the future.
-Wei Li, Penn State Smeal MBA ’14