Join the MIS Case Competition Team!

Each school year, the Information and Decision Sciences Department assembles two teams of undergraduate students to represent the Carlson School and the University of Minnesota in international MIS-focused case competitions. One team competes at CaseIT - the oldest and most well-known MIS case competition - in Vancouver, Canada. The other team competes at APEX in Singapore, an MIS-themed case competition that values deep analysis and usually includes a local Asian dimension to the case. 

Interested students should apply online during the first month of the Fall semester. Selected students will be invited to try out for the team by presenting a case solution to a panel of corporate judges.

The benefits of being selected to one of the teams include:

  • Free travel. Travel is sponored by our generous corporate partners and MIS Quarterly.
  • 2 IDSC elective credits towards your major or minor
  • Build your resume with a unique, differentiating experience
  • Hone your presentation skills in a world-class environment

Previous team members consistently report that being a part of the Vancouver or Singapore competition teams was the highlight of their undergraduate experience at Carlson!


Applications for the 2016/2017 team are now closed. Applications for the 2017/2018 team will open in September 2017.

2016 / 2017 Important Dates

  • Case 101: Tuesday, Oct 4, 6pm, CSOM 1-114
  • Tryouts: Saturday, Oct 8, 9am - 1pm, Hanson Hall
  • Traveler's Competition: Friday, Nov 4
  • Vancouver Competition: Feb 14 - 17 (2017)
  • CoMIS Competition: Mar 29 - Apr 1 (2017)
  • Singapore Competition: May 1 - 5 (2017)


For more information, contact faculty advisor Ken Reily (

Application Criteria

Application Criteria

We envision a Carlson team that brings the strength of diversity in backgrounds, knowledge and interests. Thus the criteria are broad:

  • MIS major, MIS minor, or Computer Science/Computer Engineering major (with a management minor or equivalent). There are no specific course requirements.
  • Sophomore or above. Your graduation date should be May 2018 through May 2020.
  • A competitive spirit and strong desire to represent Carlson in global competition.
  • Ability to travel to and compete in the competition events. Important dates are listed above.
  • Commit to team practice and class attendance throughout both Fall and Spring semester. The class is scheduled about twice a month on Friday mornings. Previous team members report that, outside of competitions, they average 2 – 3 hours/week.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What is the most common student concern? Carlson students worry that they aren’t technical enough, and many students new to MIS worry that they do not have enough experience to try out or compete. These are business case competitions, and our teams win and place every year. We value your Carlson management skills - from Sophomore through Senior!
  2. How hard is it to make the team? We emphasize a well-rounded team with team member strengths in: finance, strategy, technology, governance and/or analytics. Historically, strategy specialists tend to have a harder time making the team since there are more of you. Technology specialists tend to have an easier time since there are fewer of you.
  3. Is a high GPA required? No. As long as you are not on academic probation, we welcome your application.
  4. I’ve never done a case before, can I still apply? Yes, definitely. Prior to the tryout there will be a variety of resources available to you to learn about case presentations. In addition, we hold a "Case 101" seminar for students who want to know how to be successful during their tryout. We want you to be comfortable.
  5. Are international students welcome? Yes! Our international students have been key players on our CSOM MIS teams since 2010. The only requirement is a US visa that allows you to reenter the US after May 6, 2017.
  6. Can I request either the Singapore team or the Vancouver team? No. In an effort to make sure that each team is balanced and well-positioned to succeed, our corporate judges place students on teams to achieve the best fit.
  7. I understand travel is involved. What does this cost me? Nearly all of your travel expenses are paid by the MIS case program and our corporate sponsors. Typically students find they pay $100 - $150 out-of-pocket.
Case 101

Case 101

Case 101 is a seminar presented annually to students who apply and intend to try out for the MIS case competition team. Here are the video and slides from the October 2016 presentation:


  • The slides were developed to be a base for a discussion, and - by themselves - are not helpful. Much repetition, and the detail, is in the video.
  • Students who have only taken IDSC 3001 are always concerned about their chances. Our message to you: “for the last three years, we have had at least one 3001 student on the team. You can do it!!” We recommended that you review the study/preparation material (below) closely. Student F was a 3001 student, and Student A was particularly non-technical.
  • Students with a deep technical background (mainly Computer Science students) often wonder how technical the presentation should be. Remember you are speaking to management. Review Slide 49 in the slide deck posted above. This is the right level of detail for the technical solution, but be prepared to go deeper in Q&A.
Study / Preparation Material

Study and Preparation Material

Below you can find background on last year’s Case Team tryout to help you prepare. In order to get the most out of this we recommend you first orient yourself to the case:

  1. Purchase and read the Maersk case
  2. Download and read the supplemental material
  3. Brainstorm (by yourself) a very high level solution to the case
  4. Jot down the type of analysis you are going to use (e.g., how are you going to convince your judges that your solution is a great solution)

Now review the six presentations from last year’s tryouts and pay attention to:

  1. The solution specificity. Each student (except maybe Student F) is crystal clear about what they recommending.
  2. The difference among solutions (Student A is about employee engagement; Students B and D are about technology; Student C is about expansion into the Baltic; Student F is about advocacy). These are all great solutions.
  3. The depth and specificity of the analysis (competitor analysis, case study, technical overview, project plan, financial analysis). Here is where you show your skills …. Students A & D emphasized financial return, Students B and C build their stories with data

Please remember that this is an art, not a science:

  • You are just seeing slides. Most of these students provided more analysis in their voice over and then had to address Q&A to go deeper.
  • The quality of these six presentations varies a lot (slide quality, amount of analysis, solution creativity). None of them is meant to be a ‘perfect slide set’.
  • We were weak on both technical and financial focus last year. We are hoping to see more this year (If you have the skills, focusing on finance is possibly the easiest way to make the team).
  • CaseIT 2015 Team
  • Group Shot CaseIT 2015
  • CaseIT 2016 Team