The 13 students who planned CoMIS pose together.

Students Lead CoMIS Case Competition

Monday, March 25, 2024

Competing in case competitions is a significant piece of the Carlson School experience. They’re an opportunity for our students to put their classroom skills to the test, and practice solving real-world business problems in a relatively low-stakes environment.

What’s less common is planning one.

Since 2011, a small group of Carlson School undergraduate students has come together to plan the CoMIS conference. The planning committee this year is comprised of 13 students.

“We do everything - the event coordination, the communications, designing apparel, getting professionals and keynote speakers to attend, it’s pretty much all up to us,” said Ingrid Hildebrand, ‘24 BSB, who co-chaired this year’s event along with Gabby Locher, ‘24 BSB.

This year, 11 teams participated, including groups from Singapore, Canada, Hungary, and the Netherlands. A University of Minnesota student is appointed as a liaison to each team, to help them find their way around Minneapolis and build relationships across the schools.

The students have the assistance of Ken Reily, Senior Lecturer in Information & Decision Science, on one major factor: the case. He finds a company to write the case, and coordinates all pieces of it so that it is a surprise to everyone on the day it is released. This year, students were challenged to develop a strategy to increase efficiency and scale a bootcamp-style business.

“It really showcases the Carlson School as an internationally recognized business school,” said Hildebrand.

The conference was held from March 19-22, and included an Explore Minnesota Day and a Networking Dinner in addition to a 24-hour case.

It’s rare for a conference of this scale to be planned entirely by students, and it results in a more student-focused event, according to Hildebrand. “It’s not a lot of sitting and listening to lectures,” she said. “It’s super hands-on, with roundtables, mingling, even a swag swap. There’s a lot of pressure around the case competition, but it’s also about meeting all these cool people and having a great experience.

Planning the CoMIS conference allows students like Hildebrand and Locher to develop skills to complement their more technical degrees.

“The biggest thing I’ve taken away from this experience is stakeholder management,” Locher said. “It’s something I didn’t think about super deeply before. Making sure everyone’s perspectives are accounted for has been really helpful to the success of CoMIS.”

The CoMIS team is eager to expand! You do not need to be an MIS major to help organize the conference. If you’re interested in getting involved, email