Business Case Competitions: Purpose, Types and Rules

A Guide to Case Studies and Case Study Analysis

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Business Cases in Business School Curriculum

Business cases are frequently used as teaching tools in business school classes, particularly in MBA or other graduate business programs. Not every business school uses the case method as a teaching approach, but many of them do. Nearly 20 of the 25 top business schools ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek utilize cases as a primary method of teaching, spending as much as 75 to 80 percent of class time on them. 

Business cases are detailed accounts of companies, industries, people and projects. The content within a case study may include information about company objectives, strategies, challenges, results, recommendations, and more. Business case studies can be brief or extensive and may range from two pages to 30 pages or more. To learn more about case study format, check out a few free case study samples.

While you are in business school, you will probably be asked to analyze multiple case studies. Case study analysis is meant to give you the opportunity to analyze the steps other business professionals have taken to address specific markets, problems and challenges. Some schools also offer on-site and off-site case competitions so that business students can show off what they have learned.

What Is a Business Case Competition?

A business case competition is a type of academic contest for business school students. These competitions originated in the United States, but are now held all over the world. To compete, students typically break into teams of two or more people.

The teams then read a business case and provide a solution for the problem or situation presented in the case. This solution is typically presented to judges in the form of a verbal or written analysis. In some cases, the solution may needed to be defended. The team with the best solution wins the competition.

Purpose of a Case Competition

As with the case method, case competitions are often sold as a learning tool. When you participate in a case competition, you get the opportunity to learn in a high pressure situation involving a real-world scenario. You can learn from students on your team and students on other teams. Some case competitions also provide verbal or written evaluations of your analysis and solution from the competition judges so that you have feedback on your performance and decision-making skills. 

Business case competitions also provide other perks, like the opportunity to network with executives and other people in your field as well as the chance to earn bragging rights and prize winnings, which are typically in the form of money. Some prizes are worth thousands of dollars. 

Types of Business Case Competitions

There are two basic types of business case competitions: invitation-only competitions and competitions that are by application. You must be invited to an invitation-only business case competition. The application-based competition allows students to apply to be a participant. Application doesn't necessarily guarantee you a spot in the competition.

Many business case competitions also have a theme. For example, the competition may focus on a case related to supply chains or global business. There might also be a focus on a particular topic in a particular industry, such as corporate social responsibility in the energy industry.

Rules for Business Case Competitions

Although competition rules can vary, most business case competitions have time limits and other parameters. For example, the competition may be split into rounds. The competition could be limited to two teams or multiple teams. Students might compete with other students at their school or with students from another school.

Students may be required to have a minimum GPA to participate. Most business case competitions also have rules governing access to assistance. For example, students may be allowed to get help when it comes to finding research materials, but help from outside sources, like professors or students who are not participating in the competition might be strictly forbidden. 

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Your Citation
Schweitzer, Karen. "Business Case Competitions: Purpose, Types and Rules." ThoughtCo, Aug. 25, 2020, Schweitzer, Karen. (2020, August 25). Business Case Competitions: Purpose, Types and Rules. Retrieved from Schweitzer, Karen. "Business Case Competitions: Purpose, Types and Rules." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 26, 2023).