Comprehensive communication: The two key words that led to our case competition win
Our first-round submission to the Wake Forest University Marketing Analytics Summit began late on a Saturday night this past winter. Our team was excited to put together a video about ourselves and a five-slide analysis on the carbonated beverage industry.
We worked efficiently and braved a blizzard to complete our video and analysis, and we were thrilled to be invited to the semifinals with seven other MBA teams.
In the springtime semifinals, we had one week to analyze our next case: how to get consumers to use their mobile phones in grocery stores? It was a busy time of year because we just returned from spring break, and we had to balance the new case with our normal schoolwork. But with our priorities aligned, we put in the time to research, analyze, design and practice that week.
We arrived in Winston-Salem, N.C., and rehearsed our presentation until 2 a.m. Up early to practice, we headed over to Wake Forest University’s School of Business for semifinal presentations. We presented to a panel of five judges and left the room feeling it went well, but wondering if the judges felt the same.
Late that evening, we were thrilled to learn that we made it to the finals with two other MBA teams. We were going to present to hundreds of people at the Inmar Analytics Forum two days later!
Presenting in front of that size crowd was a rush; my nerves were finally calm as I was finishing my part of the presentation. We were announced as winners that night, and with it I accomplished a life-long goal: winning a really big check.
It was an amazing experience, and looking back there are three things I believe we did well that enabled us to succeed:
We created a diverse team around the case theme:
This was a competition on marketing analytics, so we all needed to be grounded in both subjects. However, we also ensured we had a variety of experiences, including consulting, finance, entrepreneurship, data analytics and a mix marketing classes.
We used that diversity to enable team members to use their strengths:
There are many opportunities in school to try new things and improve your weaknesses, but this wasn’t one of them. We made sure everyone used their expertise to help the team.
Analysis is important, but communication of the analysis is more important:
While we spent a significant amount of time on analysis and our recommendations were backed by data, we spent more time crafting a clear story. The feedback we received on the presentation was we were “comprehensive,” which I took as a huge compliment. Not only did we analyze the data in interesting ways and create a compelling strategy, but we also communicated it in a way that our audience could understand.
We would like to thank Wake Forest School of Business and Inmar for their hospitality and giving us the opportunity to present. The case competition is run by students who did an amazing job; a special thanks to the student team. All of the other teams we met, both MBA and undergrad, were extremely impressive and we enjoyed meeting you.
We hope Kellogg returns in 2016 to defend our win in this fantastic competition.
Adam Hirschkatz is a One-Year MBA student at Kellogg. His prior experience includes finance, data analytics and entrepreneurship. After graduation he will be joining BCG’s Chicago office.