2019 MIS Case Team at the Heavener International Case Competition

Case Teams Tackle Challenging Business Problems

An expenses-paid trip to a prestigious management case competition! If that sounds like a great learning experience and a lot of fun, we want you to consider applying for a Carlson Case Competition team.

We will select up to twelve students to represent the Carlson undergraduate program in fast-paced international business competitions requiring practical, actionable management solutions. One team traditionally competes at CaseIT (Vancouver, Canada) - the oldest and most well-known MIS case competition.  In 2019, our other teams will compete at the Global Business Case Competition (GBCC, University of Washington) and the Marshall International Case Competition (MICC, University of Southern California).

Our students are challenged to think deeply and present convincingly to groups of executives.  And if that sounds ‘too abstract’, don’t worry.  The cases are business cases needing strategic analysis.  We find that they are proxies for real-life situations in business, consulting, and entrepreneurship.

Next steps

  • Case Introductory Seminar (optional): Thursday, September 20, 6:30pm - 8:30pm, CSOM 2-207
    • You can find the video here
      • Part 1:  Cases, types of case competitions
      • Part 2:  Student questions, value of case competition (alumni panel), how to apply
  • Application deadline: Sunday, September 30, midnight.  
  • Case 101 Seminar (optional): Thursday, October 11, 6:30 pm - 8:30pm, CSOM 2-207 (come and go as you like)
    • We will review how to read a case, how to prepare a presentation, and many best practices.
    • The seminar will be videod and available on-line soon after October 11.
  • Case team tryouts: Saturday, October 20 
    • You will obtain the case on Friday (October 19)
    • You will be assigned a 20-minute presentation slot between 8am and noon (October 20)

The full year schedule can be found here.


Interested students should review the application criteria (below) and apply here by Sunday, September 30 at midnight. Selected students will be invited to try out for the team on October 20 by presenting a case solution to a panel of corporate judges. 

More information is available

If you have further questions, we would love to hear from you. You can contact faculty advisors Ken Reily (reil0037@umn.edu) and Corrie Fiedler (fied0001@umn.edu).

Application Criteria

Application Criteria

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

All Carlson Teams

  • Personal characteristics
    • 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.
    • Commitment to team practice and class attendance throughout both Fall and Spring semester. The class is scheduled about twice a month, usually on Friday mornings. Previous team members report that, outside of competitions, they average 2 – 3 hours/week.
  • Class Status
    • Sophomore or above. Your graduation date should be May 2019 through May 2021.
  • Availability
    • You should be on campus both Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 terms
    • You will register for IDSc 4491 (Independent Study) for Spring Term

Management Strategy Team

We will be sending a team to the Marshall International Case Competition (MICC) at the University of Southern California.  MICC is management strategy oriented, and thus this team is open to all majors and interests.

  • i-Core
    • You have completed i-Core by Fall 2018 or have special permission from team advisors (special permission can be given for those who have appropriate background, but have not yet taken i-Core.  For example, some transfer students).

MIS-oriented Team

We will be sending teams to CaseIT at Simon Fraser University (Vancouver, CA) and the Global Business Case Competition (GBCC) at the University of Washington (Seattle, WA).  CaseIT and GBCC focus on the widespread use of technology in management strategy, and thus these team are open to those with technology-oriented study plans.

  • Major / Minor
    • MIS major or MIS minor
      • You have officially declared your MIS major/minor with Carlson undergraduate office, and
      • You have taken - or are currently taking - IDSc 3001
    • Computer Science/Computer Engineering major (with a management minor)
      • You have officially declared a management minor with Carlson undergraduate office
    • Business Analytics Minor students will be considered for the team if:
      • You have officially declared your minor with the CSOM undergraduate office
      • You have taken, or are currently enrolled in, IDSC 3001
      • You have taken, or are currently enrolled in, at least one of the IDSC Analytics Minor courses (such as IDSC 4110, IDSC 4444, or others)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

All Carlson teams

  1. How hard is it to make the team? We emphasize a well-rounded team with team member strengths in: finance, strategy, marketing, operations, governance and/or analytics.  We look for students with confident abilities in their focus area (usually their major) and strong team-oriented skills.
  2. What is the most common student concern? Carlson students worry about the time commitment.  And, frankly, this is tough to address.  We are challenging ourselves against not only our US-peer universities (Indiana, Arizona, UT (Austin)), but top-tier global universities.  Our students find year-after-year, that they were a little underprepared.  So we look for students who are motivated to balance their time commitment against a desire to test themselves against the best..
  3. What is the second most common student concern? Carlson students worry that their case analysis and presentation skills are not yet refined.  Don't worry, this is an area in which we can help you during our workshops and practice rounds.
  4. Is a high GPA required? No. As long as you are not on academic probation, we welcome your application.
  5. 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. See the sections below: How do I learn more? and Practice using the 2016 case.
  6. Are international students welcome? Yes! Our international students have been key players on our CSOM MIS teams since 2010. 
  7. Can I request my team / destination? No. In an effort to make sure that each team is balanced and well-positioned to succeed, our corporate judges place students on teams for which they qualify and to achieve the best fit.
  8. This is a real class. How are grades determined? Results matter, thus your team’s placing in your global competition is key.  In addition, we take your attendance, preparation, and participation in the workshops and other events very seriously.
  9. I understand travel is involved. What does this cost me? Nearly all of your travel expenses are paid by the Undergraduate Office, the MIS case program and our corporate sponsors. Typically students find they pay $100 - $150 out-of-pocket.
  10. Do I try out by myself or with a team? You’ll try out by yourself.  Don’t worry!  We have seminars and practice material available (see details below).
  11. Is this an ‘approved' University activity?  No, this does not have the same status as, say, a varsity athletic team. You will need to work with your professors to make sure they support your absence. Once you are placed on a team, we’ll work with you about communicating with your professor.

MIS-oriented teams

  1. How hard is it to make an MIS-oriented team? We emphasize well-rounded teams with team member strengths in: finance, technology, strategy, governance and/or analytics. Historically, technology and finance specialists tend to have an easier time since there are fewer of you.
  2. 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 management skills - from Sophomore through Senior!
  3. Are international students welcome? Yes! Because one of the MIS competitions is in Canada, we require a US visa that allows you to reenter the US after February 28, 2019.
  4. I’m in IDSc 3001 right now.  Can I tryout?  Students who have only taken IDSC 3001 are always concerned about their chances. Our message to you: “for the last four years, we have had at least one 3001 student on the team. You can do it!!” We recommended that you review the Practice using the 2016 tryout case section (below) closely.
Study / Preparation Material

Practice Using the 2016 Tryout Case!

Want to practice and see some successful tryout presentations?  We have posted the 2015/2016 tryout case and a variety of student tryout slides. 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 (it costs $8.95, and we want to remind you that this is copyright protected).
  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 six winning presentations from academic year 2015/2016 tryouts and pay attention to:

  1. The problem or objective statement.  Only Student A and D nail this part of their presentation)
  2. The solution timing.  Each student ensures that we hear their solution within the first 2 minutes of their presentation.
  3. The solution specificity. Each student (except maybe Student F) is crystal clear about their recommendation.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 during 2015/2016.  We always hope to see more.