Heavener International Case Competition (HICC), is one of the most prestigious case competitions organized by University of Florida, Warrington. The competition was 7 days long, and was held on February 9th – 15th 2020. As an honor, this year, Thammasat University was invited along with 20 most prestigious business school to showcase their business acumen by solving real business problems provided by two sponsor companies, Northop Grumman and Techdata.
In this year’s competition, I, Puttinart Krungkraipetch, along with my teammates, Teeravee Khuprasert, Tatthon Thanaboriboon, Panya Kanchanatawan, and our advisor, Supawat Likittanawong, have taken on the challenge in competing in this business case competition. After relentlessly long 17 hours flights and a few bus rides later, we arrived in Gainesville, the university city where towns and buildings filled with rich history of American college experiences and of course the gators. We arrived one day prior to the competition to get ourselves prepared and recovered from the time differences.
On the next morning, we were briefed about the competition rules and format which consist of a 5-hours short case and a 27-hours long case. After that, the teams were mixed into different divisions to work on a mini local case with other participants to break the ice and allows the new diverse ideas to be formed from the global participants. Following that activity, we had a t-shirt swapping activity as well as the solo-cup Sunday which allows us to learn about the American culture. The second day after our arrival was still an activity day. On that day, we got to see the actual football stadium where finals match of all the Gators football teams were held, and where histories were made. The stadium was able to hold more than 90,000 attendees, and it was a spectacular sight to be able to see how large it is in person.
Awaiting our next morning was the reason why we are all here, the case competition. Our first case was tasked to come up with new innovation using the existing technology of the short case sponsor, Northop Grumman. Northop Grumman was one of the largest military technology firms in America, with complex business structures and wide products ranges from, land, sea, air, spaces, and other services industries. 5 hours went by in a blink, we gave our best efforts to devise and present the solutions we believe would add the most value to the firm success. However, we were assigned to the 4th place of the division.
However, that was not the end because the key case was actually the long case. The long case formats were 27 hours with half a daybreak until presentation. The task given to us was to find a new product/service to add on the portfolio of the tech distributor firm that operates in a thin margin industry, Techdata. We took what we learned from short-case round to heart and adapt our style accordingly. After having put in our best efforts and the long endless discussion, we presented our solution to the judges’ panel. The result was really impressive as we felt we did well in all of the aspects of the cases. As a result, our effort did pay off and we were awarded first place in the division. However, it took us by surprise that this first place, in fact, was a tie between 3 teams in which judges have to discuss and argue to select one final division winner to proceed forward. As discussion heated up, judges were finally having to use their last resort, the tiebreaker. Tiebreaker is the last resort rule used to select the winner and uses the score from short-case to decide. Therefore, we did not make it to the final round in the end.
A lot was gained from this experience. First were the knowledge and experience of being able to compete in this prestigious case. The second was all the good memories we made as a team, and all the activities we enjoyed from this competition. Finally, it is all the bonds, and the relationship we made; whether it is among our team, with the buddy, and the competition. We cherish these experiences, and are really blessed to be able to compete in this case competition.