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Rotman Commerce students win global case competition

4 Rotman Commerce students celebrating their case competition win
Kate Chang (BCom ’27), Sienna Dai (BCom ’27), Josh Karathra (BCom ’25), and Mike Zhang (BCom ’27), celebrating their first place win in Copenhagen.

On February 22, a team of four Rotman Commerce students made their mark on the global stage after winning first place at the prestigious Copenhagen Business School (CBS) Global Case Competition. Selected as finalists from a pool of over 3800 students representing 88 countries, Kate Chang (BCom ‘27), Sienna Dai (BCom ‘27), Josh Karathra (BCom ‘25), and Mike Zhang (BCom ‘27), were flown to Copenhagen to present to a panel of industry-leading professionals and a live audience of over 500 people.

This year, the CBS case competition was presented by Novo Nordisk, a leading global healthcare company based in Denmark. The task was to propose ways for Novo Nordisk to maintain its leadership in the Obesity Medications Market by enhancing the treatment experience for individuals grappling with obesity within the next three years. For Kate, Sienna, Josh, and Mike, this experience offered a remarkable opportunity to sharpen their critical thinking, improve their presentation skills, and be challenged by industry leaders.

In the initial round, the team faced a tight deadline of 24 hours to devise their solutions and submit them through an online platform. Kate explains, “we did some brainstorming where we popcorned ideas, fleshed them out, then debated them to select the most innovative yet feasible solution”. As a team, they ensured that the final solution was well-informed to effectively address the specific challenges faced by patients. Their proposal was shaped by two overarching trends: telehealth and wearable technology.

“Telehealth provides the opportunity for lower cost and more accessible healthcare. Our solution built off platforms like BetterHelp to make obesity diagnosis and checkups more accessible and decrease the stigma around them. We also looked at the growth in users of smart watches and designed an integrated app that could track patients’ treatment”.

Josh Karathra, BCom ‘25

For the team, this proved to be an immensely challenging yet rewarding experience. Reflecting on the initial 24-hour submission round, Josh recalls, “we encountered a number of roadblocks in the solutioning process where we needed to mentally and physically reset through short food breaks to refuel ourselves and keep pushing through”. Also, balancing their case competition preparation with academic studies posed a significant challenge throughout the competition. Effective time management became vital to ensure their academic success was unaffected.

The success of the team can be attributed to several different attributes. The upper years in the Rotman Commerce Competition Team served as a valuable support system for the team of four. This supportive community provided them with the opportunity to train alongside experienced peers, allowing them to refine their “analytical skills, presentation skills, and strategic thinking,” as Kate gratefully remembers.

4 students exploring Copenhagen
The team of four exploring the city of Copenhagen prior to their final presentation at the Copenhagen Business School.

Regarding the team’s proposal, they ensured they conducted a detailed analysis of the problem, crafted a compelling storyline between slides, and delivered a strong presentation. However, according to Sienna, the most crucial factor contributing to their victory was the cohesive nature of their proposal, which effectively addressed the key objectives of the case.

“The primary reason for our success was the alignment of our core solution with the company’s future objectives, achieved through thorough research into their goals, abilities, and vision. This tailored approach ensured that our proposal resonated with the company’s needs and aspirations, ultimately securing our victory”.

Sienna Dai, BCom ‘27

Undoubtedly, the dedication of Kate, Sienna, Josh, and Mike paid off as they impressed the judges during the final round. Even with underlying nerves, their presentation flowed seamlessly, a testament to their thorough preparation. Reflecting on the experience, Sienna admits, “Despite extensive rehearsals of our speech in our hotel room, the nerves persisted, especially during the Q&A session”. Nevertheless, despite the intense questioning and lingering nerves, they emerged victorious in Copenhagen.

This experience provided the team with a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in a new industry and gain valuable skills within a short timeframe. They were also able to explore non-traditional career paths and internship opportunities. For anyone considering participating in a case competition, take the leap because you never know where it might take you, just as Kate, Sienna, Josh, and Mike discovered when they found themselves flying off to Copenhagen for the finals.

By Sonia Singh | March 7, 2024

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