UCLA Anderson MBA students compete in case competitions locally, nationally and internationally, often bringing home first prize and always returning with valuable experience facing real-world business challenges in a competitive environment. Today, the UCLA Anderson blog presents the first in a series of guest posts by case competition participants. In October, two Anderson teams traveled to Dallas for the 2016 Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA) Case Competition, which offers MBA and graduate students the opportunity to formulate strategic recommendations to solve a business problem and win up to $5,000 in the process.
By Andrew Jancaric (’18) with contributions from all of the UCLA Anderson ROMBA participants
Going into the Reaching Out MBA Case Competition, we all knew expectations were high. Last year, two teams from UCLA Anderson had earned second and third place among 20 teams representing some of the best business schools in the country. With a dominant position like that, our 2016 teams — the first consisting of Bianca Giusto (’17) and Ali Bhamani (FEMBA ’18) and the second David Poli (’18), Geoff Sokolowski (’18) and me — knew that we had some work to do.
Let’s rewind about three weeks prior, when we all received our case prompt. It was the final week of orientation for the first-year MBAs and the week before classes started for the second-years. Upon reading the prompt, we knew that this was going to be an interesting competition. Our task was to come up with strategic recommendations for long-term financial stability at Fitbit. We would have three weeks to leverage our resources and create a polished recommendation to present to a panel of senior consultants at the ROMBA conference.
Competing at ROMBA is different than many other case competitions because the judges come from a mix of all of the best consulting firms in the nation. There are very few opportunities to be able to perform in front of a representative from each of the major firms in one shot, so we knew that the stakes were high.