The first ever Greater Houston Consulting Case Competition has come and gone with enthusiastic turnout from participants, spectators, and judges. We want to thank all of you for setting the bar very high for all future years!

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This year, the competition took place on March 26 and was held at Rice University, home to the Jones Graduate School of Business. Thirty participants (10 each from the Consulting Club at the Texas Medical Center, Consulting Club at the McCombs School of Business at Houston, and the Consulting Club at the Jones Graduate School of Business) came together to form 6 mixed teams. The 10 participants from our organization were selected via a highly competitive application process open only to our Training Members. On the night before, all the participants attended a casual meet-and-greet at The Gorgeous Gael in Rice Village to get to know their potential team members.

After teams were assigned in the morning, participants had 5 hours to get acquainted, analyze the case, create a slide deck, and practice their presentation. All of this preparation was then expended in a 10 minute presentation to spectators and to current consultants from McKinsey, BCG and Ernst & Young, who volunteered as judges. After careful deliberation, the judges announced the top-performing team, who won the $500 prize! The event was immediately followed by a networking mixer, in which the judges graciously attended, allowing the teams to mingle and relax.

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Our intentions behind holding the case competition were to:

  • Boost awareness and interest in the consulting career track
  • Provide participants with the ability to showcase the key skills that consulting firms are looking for such as teamwork, analytical ability, communication, problem-solving, and business acumen
  • Provide a venue where individuals pursuing a career in consulting can network, both across the various consulting clubs in Houston and also with current consultants
  • Unite the local candidate pools and open the door for holding more joint events between the MBAs, PhDs, and MDs within consulting clubs
  • Demonstrate to consulting firms that Houston has an extremely attractive recruiting pool

We wanted to mimic a typical consulting engagement for the day, putting the participants directly into the shoes of a consultant. This started with preparing mixed teams to encourage interaction between the various training backgrounds: PhD, postdoc, MD, full-time MBA or working MBA. Consulting firms utilize this diversity to create highly capable teams that can solve the myriad problems facing today’s businesses. The participants, just as with working consultants, were required to meet and interact with new people to not only overcome, but utilize their differences and create a highly effective analysis team.

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This year, the case centered on the future of Apple Inc., exploring three new (actual or potential) product offerings: the watch, the television, and the car. Given the current market trends and Apple’s previous successes, the teams prepared a recommendation outlining the optimal product portfolio for Apple to focus on in the near future. We selected this case because a) practically everyone is familiar with Apple and its products, b) it would foster creativity among participants as Apple has minimal financial constraints, and c) due to the general public’s rapidly growing interest in consumer electronics and the resulting unparalleled innovation cycle.

The teams were assessed on their ability to create, assemble, and present their recommendations to judges, founded thorough data-backed analysis and representing a practical and economically feasible business strategy for Apple to potentially implement. Judges additionally considered the team’s poise while answering questions, the creativity behind their analysis, and the level of professionalism demonstrated by the team members.

The winner of the 1st Annual Greater Houston Consulting Case Competition was Team 3: Ashutosh Shinde (McCombs), Felipe Armaza (Jones), Paul Surpenant (Jones), and Alessandro Alabastri (CCTMC, Rice). We are now looking forward to next year’s competition and incorporating this year’s feedback and experiences to make future events both bigger and better! Thank you Houston, and we will see you next year.

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We would like to thank our sponsors and donors for helping make this event a possibility:

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