Members of the MIS Case Team pose in the Hanson Hall skyway prior to competiton

Carlson School students earn first place at international case competition

Saturday, March 5, 2022

The Carlson MIS program undergraduate case team of Ariel Chau, ‘22 BSB, Eileen Chen, ‘22 BSB, Thomas Farrell, ‘22 BSB, and Madhava Raveendra, ‘23 BSB, earned divisional first place in Case I of CaseIT, the premier international MIS case competition, hosted Feb. 20-25 in Vancouver, Canada.

Case I asked students to optimize the online quote process of APOLLO Insurance, a Canada-based provider of small business insurance. Customers were dropping out during the process, and APOLLO sought suggestions for improving it. The Carlson School team recommended implementing A/B testing methods and moving requests for sensitive personal information to later in the quote process.

“Case I is quite the challenge; it’s complex, ambiguous and needs to be solved--and presented to management--within five hours” explains Corrie Fiedler, senior lecturer at the Carlson School and team coach, along with fellow senior lecturer Ken Reily. “Our team was able to conquer the field by pulling together their diverse set of skills (technical, financial, project management, design) with a spirit of trust and confidence. An amazing effort.”

In addition, the student team participated in a second case that asked them to envision the "airport of the future" and make recommendations to Vancouver International Airport (YVR). They finished second in that competition, earning the chance for a third ‘elevator pitch’-style presentation against teams from around the world. 

For the students involved, it was an “enjoyable and worthwhile experience,” says Farrell, with real-world application. “We [are] proud of the solutions we offered…and even if we were given a second chance to do this all over again, we will still be presenting them with our original proposal,” admits Chau, who calls case competitions as “one of the most significant highlights in my journey at the University of Minnesota.” For Chen, who graduates this May along with Farrell and Chau, the competition is a highlight of her senior year. “The memories I made with my team that week and the people I met will always be something I will look back on. I am so proud of my team for the long hours and hard work we put into this competition because it definitely paid off.”

The team’s performance continues the Carlson School’s success at this competition, and others.