Apply for Carlson Case Teams

MIS Case Students

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 traveling Carlson Case Competition team.

We will select up to sixteen students (3 - 4 teams) to represent the Carlson at fast-paced competitions focusing on international business requiring practical, actionable management solutions.

  • Strategic, cross functional competitions: We are planning to send one or two teams to compete against top-tier universities in strategic, cross-functional competitions.
  • MIS-oriented competitions: We have sent teams to MIS competitions for over 11 years. One team traditionally competes at CaseIT (Vancouver, Canada) - the oldest and most well-known MIS case competition. 

Over the last few years we have also participated at Marshall International Case Competition (University of Southern California), Global Business Case Competition (University of Washington), Chulalongkorn International Business Case Competition (Chulalongkorn University, Thailand), Heavener International Case Competition (University of Florida).  Each of these competitions invite top-tier global universities.

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.

Interested in learning more?

  • Case Introductory Seminar (optional): Wednesday, Sept 18 (6pm), CSOM 2-206
    • We will review Carlson's case competition program, the value of case work, and application details.
    • There will be a presentation (30 - 45 minutes), then Q&A. You may come-and-go as you please.
    • The seminar will be videoed and available online here.
  • Case 101 Seminar (optional): Thursday, Oct 3 (6pm) CSOM 2-207
    • We will review how to read a case, how to prepare a presentation, and many best practices.
    • There will be an interactive presentation (60 minutes or so), then Q&A.  You may come-and-go as you please.
    • The seminar will be videoed and available online here.
  • Application deadline: Wednesday, Oct 9 (midnight)
  • Case team tryouts: Saturday, October 19
    • You will obtain the case on Friday (October 18)
    • You will be assigned a 20-minute presentation slot between 8am and noon on Saturday (October 19)

Ready to apply?

Interested students should review the application criteria (below) and apply by Wednesday, October 9 at midnight (application form will be available here in early September).

Selected students will be invited to try out for the team on October 19 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

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

  • Personal characteristics
    • A competitive spirit and strong desire to represent Carlson in global competition.
    • Ability to travel to and compete in the competition events. 
    • Commitment to team practice and class attendance throughout both Fall and Spring semester. The class is scheduled about twice a month, usually at 7am on Friday mornings. Previous team members report that, outside of competitions, they average 2 – 3 hours/week.
  • Course co-requisites or prerequisites
    • CSOM students must meet at least ONE of these requirements
      • i-Core:  you must be taking (Fall 2019) - or have completed - i-Core OR
      • IDSc 3001:  you must be taking (Fall 2019) - or have completed - IDSc 3001 OR
      • Special permission:  our advisors occasionally give special permission to those who have not taken i-Core (usually transfer students)
    • Non CSOM students must meet this requirement
      • Management minor:  you must be a CSCI (CLA/CSE), CompENG (CSE), or ITI (CCPS) major with a declared management minor
  • Class Status
    • Your expected graduation date should be May 2020 through May 2022.
  • Availability
    • You should be on campus both Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 terms. 
    • You will register for IDSc 4491 (Independent Study, 1 credit) during Spring Term.  The course requires attendance at workshops and practice events.  Please review the tentative schedule here to ensure you are available to work productively with your team!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. How hard is it to make the team? We emphasize a well-rounded team with team member strengths in: finance, strategy, MIS, marketing, operations, governance and/or analytics.  We value your management skills - from Sophomore through Senior - and your strong teamwork 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 somewhat 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 knowledge 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.  In fact, we have had i-Core (and IDSc 3001) students on our team every year. 
  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 teams since 2010. Note that we often attend competitions outside the US.  If you are placed on one of those teams, you will be responsible for your own visa, and also validate that ensure US visa allows you to reenter the US after your international travel.
  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. If I make the team, what dates do I need to block out?  This is a moving target since we are now (September 2019) in the midst of accepting competition invitations.  You can find the most current schedule here.
  11. 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).
  12. 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.

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 opportunity statement.  Only Student A and D nail this part of their presentation
  2. Timing of the solution.  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 Q&A took them 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.

Build Your Skills

Joining a Carlson Case Team Benefits Your Career

Carlson Case Team Competes at CIBCC (Thailand)

Carlson Case Team Travels to CIBCC (Thailand), May 2017