MIS Case Comp

Join the MIS Case Competition Team!

An expenses-paid trip to a prestigious business case competition, plus 2-hours of MIS elective credit! If that sounds like a great learning experience and a lot of fun, we want you to consider applying for the Carlson MIS Case Competition team.

We select up to eight students each year to represent Carlson MIS in fast-paced international business competitions requiring practical, actionable management solutions. One team competes at CaseIT - the oldest and most well-known MIS case competition - in Vancouver, Canada. In 2017, our second team competed at CIBCC in Phuket, Thailand.

Our students are challenged to think deeply and present convincingly to groups of executives.  And if that sounds ‘too technical’, don’t worry.  The cases are business cases needing strategic analysis, rather than detailed technical solutions.

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 case competition teams was the highlight of their undergraduate experience at Carlson!


Interested? Start by reviewing our schedule for 2017/2018.

If you feel you can commit to attend all events for 2017/2018, you can apply here before midnight, September 29, 2017. Tryouts will be held on Saturday, Oct 7, 2017 (you will be assigned a 20 minute slot that morning).

2017 / 2018 Important Dates

  • Introductory Seminar: Tuesday, Sep 19, 6:30 - 8pm, CSOM 1-114 (Video)
  • Case 101: Tuesday, Oct 3, 6:30 - 8pm, CSOM 1-114 (Video)
  • Tryouts: Saturday, Oct 7, 9am - 1pm, Hanson Hall [you will be assigned an individual 20 minute slot during this time]
  • CaseIT (Vancouver): Feb 11 - 16, 2018
  • CoMIS Competition: Apr 11 - 14, 2018
  • CIBCC (Thailand): May 22 - 27, 2018 (Tentative)

The full year schedule can be found here.


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), or 2017 MIS case team member Stephanie Shrider (shrid009@umn.edu).

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). There are no specific course requirements.
  • 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 or IDSC 4444)
  • 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.
  • Commitment 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. See the sections below: How do I learn more? and Practice using the 2016 case.
  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 31, 2018.
  6. 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 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.
  8. This is a real class. How are grades determined? Results matter, thus your team’s placing in your international competition is key.  In addition, we take your attendance, preparation, and participation in the workshops and other events very seriously.
  9. 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).
  10. 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 three 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. Student F was a 3001 student, and Student A was particularly non-technical.
  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.
How do I learn more?

We have two optional - and very informal - sessions to help you be successful. 

Introductory Seminar

Tuesday, Sept 19, 6:30 – 8pm, location TBD, feel free to come-and-go based on your schedule.

We will cover the MIS Case Competition program, schedule, and benefits.  We want to help you decide if the Case Program is right for you! Alumni from previous years will attend to discuss their experiences.

If you can’t attend, the video and slides will be posted here after Sept 19.

Case 101

Case 101 is a seminar presented annually to students who have applied and intend to try out for the MIS case competition team. If you can't attend, the video and slides will be posted here after Oct 3. 


  • 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

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
  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 academic year 2015/2016 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 during 2015/2016. 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).