Maastricht University team reaches international case competition finals in New Zealand

The Maastricht University Case Competition team made it to the finals in the international case competition hosted in Queenstown, New Zealand at the end of August.

The SDS International Business Case Competition hosted a total of 12 teams, many of which were international teams from South America, Canada, Australia and Asia.


The Maastricht team consisted of four SBE students, Christopher Pommerenke, Milena Koch, Fabienne Herlinger, Maud Best and team advisor Sabine Janssen
(from left to right)

Christopher Pommerenke, German, 21, student in International Business Economics, finance expert of the team, currently on an exchange programme in Sydney, Australia.

Milena Koch, German, 22, student in International Business, marketing expert, currently planning her semester abroad in Lille, France for a double degree.

Fabienne Herlinger, German, 20, student in International Business, strategy expert of the team and currently on an exchange programme in Brisbane, Australia.

Maud Best, Dutch, 19, student in International Business, strategy expert and currently on an exchange programme in Bogota, Colombia.

Sabine Janssen, 27, Lecturer at the Marketing & Supply Chain Management Department and team advisor of the case competition.

Stressfull and euphoric times

The competition consisted in two rounds of five-hour cases, followed by the finals. A five-hour case means that each team given a time slot of five hours during which it needs to read the case, formulate the main challenge for the company at hand, conduct a thorough situational analysis, come up with a complete business plan outlining detailed recommendations, make the relevant financial calculations and elaborate a set of conclusions.

After the five-hour preparation, each team was asked to present their recommendations within a time slot of 10 minutes to a panel of judges consisting mainly of business professionals and academics. In Queenstown, the presentation was followed by a challenging 10 minute long Q&A session.

The first five-hour case was about a New Zealand based car rental company called “Juicy” which has been expanding into different markets such as Australia and most recently the United States. The challenge was to present a way in which Juicy could further develop from a car rental company into a global tourism brand.

The case preparation session took place in the luxurious apartments where the participating teams were accommodated during the whole competition week. It was a stressful and exhausting experience, during which the Maastricht team members covered all the walls of their apartment with large sheets of papers for brainstorming purposes. The nearby kitchen provided the students with fresh and welcome supplies of water and food.

The reward came when the Maastricht team received the first prize within its division for the first case competition round. The judges spoke in very positive terms about the team’s performance and praised its creative and strategically sound recommendations. The picture below illustrates this euphoric moment!

An unforgettable week in a beautiful location

The second five-hour case round took place two days later and dealt with waste management. The finalists were announced late in the afternoon. The top two teams from both divisions made it to the finals. The teams in the finals in descending order were: Auckland (New Zealand), Concordia (Canada), UNSW (Sydney) and Maastricht University’s SBE.

During this entire period, the Maastricht team created a special Facebook page to keep the SBE community, friends and family updated on their experience.

The finals session was organised in a beautiful venue at the top of Queenstown Mountain. The view and the atmosphere of the location combined with the excitement of taking part in the finals made it an unforgettable experience for everyone on the team.

Work hard, play hard

It goes without saying that case competitions ask a lot of commitment and dedication from the students.

To keep the balance, many leisure activities were scheduled in the competition programme in Queenstown to help the international students mingle with each other, give them a chance to experience the beautiful scenery of Queenstown and enjoy themselves.

The social activities ranged from networking events, dinners, a luge race, a “crazy” case experience (here the goal was to come up with the most ludicrous recommendations for a sports drink brand) and a photo contest/race across Queenstown.

The picture below was taken during a trip to Doubtful Sound, in Fjordland, on the west coast of the southern island of New Zealand.

Feeling ready for business life!

“The competition was an unforgettable experience that allowed us to come in contact with business outside the university and really motivated us to begin with our own business life,” said Christopher Pommerenke.

“Making it to the finals was a great accomplishment, especially given the fact that it was the first competition for all team members,” added Fabienne Herlinger. “The team was very proud and it felt great to receive all the congratulations from the other teams at the competition and from our loyal via our Facebook page.”

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