MIMs from the September 2016 intake share their story of how they enjoy the IMMA consulting challenge!

Over the last few years, business school case competitions seem to be more popular than ever before. These case competitions take place over several hours or a few days, and involve a theoretical or real-world business problem being presented to contestants. Students must collaborate to solve them, teaching them to make decisions in a high-stakes business environment. Teams from top business schools generally compete against others making for a dynamic competition in front of a panel of industry judges.

The new Morningstar Global Case Challenge, an example of the evolving design of case competitions, breaks with convention in several ways. The main difference between this competition and others is that this competition takes place over 10 weeks in a virtual environment, with teams comprised of three students from different business schools. The 2017 competition was carried out in association with IMMA – the International Masters in Management Association – with six of the seven member schools from the consortium, including IE Business School, participating.

The teams were comprised of three select students from the six schools, with each school nominating the students and a faculty mentor. As the teams were a mix of students from different schools, this mimicked a realistic task-based working environment. Students were responsible for working collaboratively across international borders by leveraging all available technology.

We recently caught up with two participants in the competition from IE’s MIM program, Jerome Ibañez and Shreya Parmar, to ask them about their experience.


How did you feel working with people from others schools?

JI: Working with them was great! During the first few online meetings I was sort of trying to figure out what their strengths are and see how I can leverage that to make the group more productive. Christina from WHU has a solid finance background while Ryan from Queen’s University is more of a traditional management consultant. I bring the technology aspect to the group and I think that our skills really complimented each other.

SP: It was intriguing to say the least about how we were alike in some ways and different in other. Since we have similar aspirations in life, we were able to create this synergy of recommendations, hope, and support and it was indubitably the best thing to happen to us as we applied for jobs.


What was your favorite part about the competition?


JI: First of all, I had a great team and had no problems whatsoever with them. We delivered our inputs on time and completed the milestones we set on time. Secondly, the scope of the project was mind blowing. We had three months to figure out how a company like Morningstar can move forward with their business. I think the key to us winning was the fact that we instilled into ourselves the mindset that we were really part of the company and that our recommendations is something that the company would follow. Of course, whether or not they will take our recommendations seriously is another thing but it’s the same thing in real consulting projects.


SP: The project had massive scope and that made it enjoyable because there were so many things to explore. Also, it was very apt for the times we live in as we are currently riding a wave of digital transformation everywhere, and to witness it so closely in the finance industry was overwhelming and inspiring.



What is your key takeaway from the challenge?


JI: My main takeaway from the challenge is that working with virtual teams can be as effective, if not more effective, than working in traditional groups. I feel like working with Christina and Ryan, even just online, was better than working with some of my groups at IE because you really feel the sense of dedication and urgency to them. Working with virtual teams is not that different than working with in-person teams. Our meetings still involved those “off topic moments” that exist within in-person teams like jokes, sending memes, and the like.


SP: The important and perhaps the best lesson was learning to discipline yourself. I also learned how to prioritize tasks given that you have to manage your schedule in reference to different time zones.



How do you feel completing the MIM at a school like IE helped contribute to the success of the challenge?


JI: It really boils down to the team experience I had with IE. Before coming to the challenge, I already learned a couple of lessons from my group during the first term and I applied those lessons to my Morningstar team.


SP: Of course the diversity at IE was a plus point because the experience with diverse work groups here gave me the cultural sensitivity to work with other people. Additionally, the professors were so approachable just to get an insight on our solutions.

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