Molson Update – Friday January 7

The final case for UMaine ended in an essential draw. Up against the Aalto School of Economics of Finland, a three judge panel awarded the tie-breaking 6-5 win to Aalto. As a result Maine failed in its strong bid to make the semi-finals of this extremely difficult competition.
The UMaine team needed a win and was one of four match-ups than ended in the 6-5 circumstance. The scoring means that the judge panel split 2-1.
It was unfortunate that a regular five judge panel was not available to hear the case. Both teams had strong recommendations and presentations and based on the very positive feedback from the judges it was clear that the decision was difficult.
Maine received excellent ratings in 3 of the 7 categories (analysis, solution and Q&A) with very positive comments on the other 4, particularly presentation effectiveness. The judges comments were consistent with the feedback from other cases. Illustrative were “very good and consistent justification and recommendations; good implementation plan; very strong teamwork; good time management and communication skills; good use of slides and graphs.”
In the end, the judges’ decision hinged on a perceived level of greater detail presented by Aalto. While one could have a differing perception, such is the nature of the competition. Had Maine been on the prevailing side, it would have qualified (along with Aalto) to be one of nine teams that compete in the semi-finals.
Whatever the final score, the UMaine team finished with the university’s best record in its nine years of being represented at this international business school competition.
UMaine with a 3 win-2 loss record and 120 points, placed 2nd in its division (behind Aalto) and finished in 14th place in the competition overall.
As the team coach, I am extremely pleased that the capabilities and skills of this talented UMaine team were recognized and rewarded in the competition. They have worked long hours in preparation, retained a positive attitude under stressful circumstances, and performed at a very high level. They have well represented themselves as individuals and as outstanding examples of the quality of students from the University of Maine Business School.
To the team I add a direct and simple “thank you” for a job well done. You have earned the respect and admiration of all those from UMaine who have followed and supported your efforts.
In closing, I want to recognize and thank my colleagues, Jason Harkins and John Mahon, for their significant efforts in helping to train, prepare and guide the team. I also want to thank Jon Sorenson, Chairperson of the Maine Business School Board of Advisors, for his time and engagement with the team’s preparation.
It has truly been a team effort and I am proud to be a member of the UMaine team.

Molson Update – Interesting Fact

Of the top 11 schools in this year’s competition, 3 are from Canada, 3 from the US, 2 from Germany, 1 from Finland, 1 from Sweden and 1 from Portugal. Except for 1 school, a win or loss on Friday (with 30 points at stake) separates making the semi-finals from sitting in the audience!

The US schools are South Carolina, Pepperdine (CA) and UMaine.

UMaine Wins Case 4 – In the Semi-Finals?

In a major victory on Thursday, 1/6, the UMaine team has moved into 2nd place in its division. Maine earned a significant 8-3 win over the Paris School to place 11th overall in the competition with just a few points separating the top teams. At this point, only one team is assured a place in the semi-final round.

Since 9 teams make the semi-final round, Maine is now in a strong position to be one of those teams based on the performance of the teams in the last case tomorrow.

If Maine wins against the divisional leader (Aalto of Finland), we should earn a spot. Aalto has lost to a team Maine has already bested in an earlier case.
In addition to our performance however, other factors that may decide the final result …… primarily the fact that in addition to Maine, a number of the other top 11 teams are facing off against each other in the last case.
So, you can see that Friday, 1/7 will be an exciting and dramatic day in Montreal.

Molson Update – Wednesday, January 5

Wednesday is called “moving day” at the competition since there are two cases … a an already very intense and competitive environment.

The UMaine team won its first case (6-5) in a close decision against Asper. The case was an international marketing case involving a German company in France competing in the lighting industry when CFL lights were mandated by the EU. Both teams had made similar analyses and recommendations. The judges’ decision to favor Maine was based on its “well presented, direct” recommendations and its ability to answer questions. Overall the feedback said the team “spoke well” and exhibited “good teamwork.”
Maine lost the afternoon case – another international business case – with a 7-4 decision to LUMS. Frankly, we were all disappointed in the result and somewhat confused by the judges’ comments regarding a “lack of creative alternatives” that appeared to be the deciding factor. Both John and I felt the team had been impressive with both content and its presentation. Relative to the other team, we thought our team had won the case convincingly.
The case was modeled on Rio Tinto and concerned “best practices” in winning contracts in developing markets in the mining industry. Despite the result, the judges’ comments were consistent with other feedback Maine has been receiving …. such as “good clear presentation with effective time management” and the ability to defend “their position consistently well.”
Notwithstanding the loss, overall the UMaine team remains in a strong competitive position, placed third in its division in a very tight point race (3 teams with 2-1 records) and 15th overall in the total competition.
Today’s “live case,” just now beginning, concerns Canada’s global commercial strategy …. indeed the firm is the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service. It should be a most demanding case with Maine up against the Paris School.
Given other competitive lineups, at the end of the day Maine to greatly improve its competitive position in both the division and overall with another strong performance. Go Black Bears!

Victory in Case 1

The UMaine team won their first case today with a clear 7-4 victory against a polished Laurier team. They earn a total of 37 points for the win and are placed second in the division after round one.

The case involved an Indian-Japanese (Honda) joint venture in India’s scooter/motorcycle market. The judges’ feedback was extremely positive citing the UMaine team as “confident presenters” with an analysis that provided a “clear evaluation of the market and direction of the business.” The judges also said the team was excellent at handling questions and noted their “ability to defend and build on their recommendation.”
John, Jason and I are proud of the team’s hard work and accomplishment today.
Tomorrow the team will compete in two cases. The morning case against Asper is another 3 hour preparation with a 25 minute presentation and 15 minutes of questioning. The afternoon case, against Paris, is a “short” case likely requiring the team to advise a business on an emerging crisis situation.