Competing in Canada

The John Molson Undergraduate Case Competition 2013

Maastricht University was one of the 24 business schools from 11 countries worldwide invited by the John Molson School of Business in Montréal, Canada, to take part in the 5th edition of its renowned Undergraduate Case Competition on 17-24 February, 2013.

Maastricht University was represented by Ulrike Hahn, Fabienne Herlinger, Ruth Hütte, Sascha Niebel and their team advisor Sabine Janssen.

During a case competition, teams of four students are challenged to analyze and evaluate real-life business cases and present their strategic solutions and a detailed plan of action to a panel of judges from the academic and corporate world. The competition consists of four cases  – three three-hour cases and one 24-hour case.

Organized by students

The John Molson Undergraduate Case Competition (JMUCC) is an annual event organized by a team of students from the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University. Maastricht University competed in the same division as Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, National University of Singapore and Dublin Institute of Technology.

The competition through the eyes of the students

During the first three competition days we had to work on three cases. We only had three hours to prepare each case. This meant that we had to rely on our competencies in time management and teamwork, while at the same time leveraging our individual expertise to understand and solve each case within the three hour time slot.

The 24-hour case

After rearranging our hotel room into a case preparation office, we were ready to kick-off the 24-hour case at 10 o’clock on Friday morning. We had to come up with a strategy for Nivea Men in Canada that would prepare it for the market entry of its competitors Dove and Axe. On Saturday morning, after an intense day and only limited hours of sleep we presented our solution. Unfortunately, we were not able to qualify for the finals. The University of South Carolina, Queensland University of Technology and NUS were awarded the first, second and third place respectively.

Fun activities

Seeking to keep a healthy balance between hard work and fun, the committee organized a variety of social activities in the evening. We had the chance to watch an ice hockey game and to network with representatives of Groupe Dynamite and the executives of Canada’s largest bank Royal Bank of Canada on the 41st floor of its head office. Groupe Dynamite is a Canadian based clothing company and operates women’s retail stores in Canada, the USA  and the Middle East.

The main sponsor:  Molson Coors Canada

The main sponsor of the competition is the Molson Coors Canada beer brewery. , Founded by John Molson in 1786, the Molson Brewing Company is the oldest beer brewery of North America.

Currently the seventh generation of the Molson family is still actively involved in the business. CEO Dave Perkins sees this ongoing connection to the company’s roots as a great corporate asset. “There is a competitive advantage in family that is less about reinforcing our being Canadian, and more about the care, quality concern and values that come with family involvement. I think people generally look upon Molson as a company with a deep and rich heritage and history in Canada – and I think there is an awareness that there is still meaningful family involvement.” (

On Wednesday evening we had the opportunity to visit the beer brewery and to taste one or two beers.

How do sponsors benefit from their engagement in these case competitions?

Sponsoring a Case Competition is an excellent way for businesses to show their support for the academic community. By becoming an official sponsor, businesses also stand to gain from the benefits such as networking with fellow executives, meet some of the most talented business students from around the world and promote their company to corporate executives, leading academics and top undergraduate business students.

Overall, case competitions represent an outstanding opportunity for participants to develop competencies that are essential for business leaders and allow students, sponsors and industry professionals to connect and develop valuable partnerships. 

An extraordinary experience

Although we did not win an award this year, the JMUCC was an extraordinary experience and it was impressive to meet team members from the other 23 universities in competition.  For all four of us, the JMUCC was our second and last case competition and we can say with no doubt that our participation at these events was a highlight in our student life. 

Thank you SBE for making this experience possible!!

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