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Winning Abroad

USC Marshall Undergraduates take Second Place in NUS International Case Competition

September 11, 2018
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USC Marshall undergraduates took second place at the 2019 National University of Singapore International Case Competition Sept. 3-7. One member of the team, Caitlyn Huang ’20, was named best “Female Presenter” for the entire event (which also named a best “male presenter”).

Team members include: Huang, Claire Lin ’19, Brandon Kay ’21 and James Yun ’19.

"It is an amazing feeling to find out that all of our training and the time and efforts put in by our coaches have paid off," said Lin. "Our biggest motivation as a team was to make everyone else back home proud, and we are glad that we did!"

Clark Hansen, who teaches advanced writing for business for Marshall’s Dept. of Business Communication, was the faculty adviser on the ground.

“I'm humbled by the experience and proud of my team, Claire, James, Brandon, and Caitlyn,” said Hansen. “The NUS International Case Competition is Asia's premier case event, and to place second is a testament not only to our team's individual talents, but also to the excellent education our students receive at Marshall and the tireless dedication of the Marshall Case Team advisers.”

This was the first time the team had a dedicated alumni adviser as well. Nikunj Mistry '11, who has a background in investment banking, coached the team remotely from his home in Northern California.

The group competed against 20 international and domestic business schools, including NUS, Auckland, Wharton, Berkeley, and others.

“This was a very competitive event and these students have done us proud. This is what ‘Fight On!’ really means.” --Dean James G. Ellis

The students are part of the Marshall Case Team, a group of about 40 undergraduate students who meet every Friday to practice the art of presenting cases.  The students have a chance to go abroad and compete about four times a year, although the makeup of these teams change with each event so that everyone has the opportunity to go abroad to compete.

“This club teaches problem-solving and critical thinking,” said Michael Coombs, associate professor of clinical management and organization who is the faculty adviser for the group.  “Part of the recruitment process for investment banking and consulting involves a case interview, where students have to solve a problem on their feet. This is good training for that.”

What impressed the faculty involved in this particular case competition was the fact that the students came up from behind. "After the presentation of the first case, USC found itself in last place in its bracket, which contained Wharton, 3-time MICC winner Auckland, and Corvinus University,” noted Sean O’Connell, director of international business programs for USC Marshall. “But our ‘never give up’ Trojan spirit shone through."

Marshall dean James G. Ellis congratulated the students upon their return.

“This was a very competitive event and these students have done us proud. It's what ‘Fight On!’ really means.”

NUS took first place while Thammasat University of Thailand took third in the 20-team competition.