2017 International Case Competition: Providing high-impact advice to all types of businesses

From 7-13 May, 2017, the eighth edition of the International Case Competition at Maastricht (ICC@M) will take place at the Maastricht University (UM) School of Business and Economics (SBE).

As one of the top-12 case competitions in the world, ICC@M provides companies and organisations the opportunity to present real-world cases to teams of international students who present advice and solutions.

Fierce competition
The competition is fierce, says Bas van Diepen, lecturer of organisation and strategy at SBE and operations director ICC@M. “Our format is to have one case in which students have 24 hours to prepare their presentations and two cases for which students have only 3 hours to pitch a solution,” he says.

Organising team of ICC@M2017 (Left to right: Jeroen Moonemans, Nhu Nguyen, Bas van Diepen, Jade Lebailly and Steve Goossens)

Organising team of ICC@M2017 (Left to right: Jeroen Moonemans, Nhu Nguyen, Bas van Diepen, Jade Lebailly and Steve Goossens)

While preparing their presentations, teams of top-level students from around the world are isolated—without their phones and often without Internet—putting together what they believe to be the best solution for the presented case. Each team is comprised of 4 students.

All types of companies take advantage of this opportunity to get the consultation of young, talented students, van Diepen says. “We’ve had commercial businesses, big banks and non-profit organisations participate. The municipality of Maastricht and Toon Hermans Huis Maastricht also participated last year.”

In 2015 Deutsche Bank A&WM served as a case, as did a Maastricht-based social entrepreneurial organisation run by two women. In both cases, the advice of the winning case had great impact.

Top-tier, high-impact consulting
“We call ourselves a ‘high-impact’ competition,” van Diepen says. “We offer quality consulting from young teams who do an amazing job, and open the box of non-conventional solutions.”

Lennart Swobada of Arvato Financial Solutions, which participated in last year’s competition agrees, is quoted on the ICC@M website saying he received “well structured and thought-through business concepts with the quality of top-tier consultancies.”

Van Diepen says he receives such feedback often from participating companies. “If the companies went to regular consultancies—they are highly ranked, highly competitive—what the companies who have participated say is they would rather get something off the shelf that costs a lot of money and could be a bit shallow,” he says. “What they get from us is 16 presentations that are judged by not only the companies but also external consultants and the SBE staff that is involved—finance, marketing, strategy staff and so on. And that provide rigorous solutions that are rigorously judged.”

Cases that connect to the students’ worlds
Companies also benefit from getting feedback and input from what is likely to be their greatest consumer target. “Our participating students are typically between the age of 19 and 24, and we try to connect the cases to the students’ world, to their environment, van Diepen says. “We look for companies that can offer cases in which we can see our own values, not only of SBE but also of ICC@M, relating to entrepreneurship, sustainability, and responsible leadership . And the case companies also see the opportunity to have the advice of this generation of their consumers. And also of the many international perspectives.”

This year, students from universities in Canada, the US, Europe and Asia/Oceania will again participate—something van Diepen says is part of the internationalisation strategy of SBE.

How companies can participate
In addition to providing cases, interested companies are also invited to provide a corporate event during which they can talk with students and SBE staff, which provides face-to-face networking and recruitment possibilities. Companies and organisations interested in participating in this year’s competition should contact Bas van Diepen at b.vandiepen@maastrichtuniversity.nl.

To hear testimonials from students and companies who have participated, watch this video.

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