Thoughts on Target Case Competition

Perpetual PowerPoints. Boba runs. Filming at Pao’s. Adventures at Unit 3 Beverly Cleary. Brainstorming sessions at Spens-Black. Huge bag of Starbursts. Being perpetually tired. Pho for dinner. Sleeping a few hours. 3 am campus bike rides. Skipping plant bio. Bouncing Reese’s Pieces off the wall and catching them in my mouth. Random 20 minute power naps. Working and slowly dozing off into sleep. Oh, and did I mention Target case comp?

It’s been a hell of a ride, and I have to say that my first non-ABA case competition was quite a memorable point of my first year at Cal. Even though our group didn’t win the $4000 cash prize, I couldn’t be prouder of our group of first-year ABA kids who pulled through to the end.

Pao, Kim, and Jay, you guys impress me so much with your work ethic and positive attitudes, not to mention your video editing talents, creativity, and smarts.

In case you were wondering why I seemingly disappeared the past week and weekend, now you know. I was working with my group on presenting a sustainability merchandising plan for Target. Case competitions are annual contests sponsored by big companies to solve real-world business problems and offer hefty cash prizes.

The Target case comp was a lot of fun, but definitely a lot of work. We had a little over a week to come up with a comprehensive plan to fix Target’s business shortcomings, and on top of that we had to prepare a PowerPoint for an 8 minute presentation, as well as a 3 minute video.

So pretty much from 10pm-3am every day last week, I was researching, writing up, thinking up solutions, and working with my teammates on this case. Our filming for the video led to a 12-hour session on Saturday, during which I didn’t return to my dorms until 5 am. All in all, we invested over 49 hours into this huge project.

And even though we didn’t win the case competition, I was far from disappointed. As a team of all first-years, I think we held our own against much more experienced second, third, and fourth years. The judges were visibly impressed with our video and presentation. And I learned so much more about case competitions, working under pressure and fatigue, and managing my time.

Case comps are huge investments of time, but they are very rewarding to do, and provide a good experience for anyone interested in solving real world business problems. I mean, how cool is it actually HELPING a huge company such as Target increase sales and implement new programs?

This case comp has made me hungrier for next year’s round of case comps. I am confident that with time, I, along with my teams, will be able to pull a victory or two off. Until then, all these great memories remain. Again, props to Kim, Pao, and Jay for being awesome case comp teammates. We need to get dinner and celebrate sometime.

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