The Columbia Case Competition: A Learning Experience

From left to right: Ajay Addagada (MSBAPM, Class of Spring 2017), Zhouxuan Li (MIT), Yashwanth Musiboyina (MSBAPM, Class of Spring 2017), Esha Shah (Dartmouth)
From left to right: Ajay Addagada (MSBAPM, Class of Spring 2017), Zhouxuan Li (MIT), Yashwanth Musiboyina (MSBAPM, Class of Spring 2017), Esha Shah (Dartmouth)

About the Competition

The Columbia Case competition was organized by the Columbia Graduate Consulting Club (CGCC) of Columbia University, which was aimed to expose those students who want to pursue the field of consulting and have no prior experience in it. A total of four students from the Business Analytics and Project Management program represented UConn at this competition.

We had the opportunity to team up with students from other universities such as MIT, Harvard, and Stanford which made the experience a very good learning experience for all. The competition had three rounds, of which the first round included presenting to the panelists in private whereas the second and third rounds included presentation in front of all the other participants and additional consultants from renowned consulting companies such as BCG, CB Partners, EY and McKinsey.

The participating students from UConn were Ajay Addagada ’17 MSBAPM, Deeksha Ramesh Bomman ’16 MSBAPM, Manasa Shankar ’16 MSBAPM, and Yashwanth Musiboyina ’17 MSBAPM.

Tackling the Case

As no prior preparation was required to participate, participants were handed over the case prompt along with supplementary data. A timeline of four hours was given to analyze, solve and put together a ten-minute presentation which required presentation to the panel.

As the age of the internet has created chaos among all industries alike, the case revolved around this topic as well. We were required to develop a strategy for a leading game retailer which sold gaming hardware and software to counter the digital disruption taking place in the market. Specifically, we had to develop a strategy to generate $4.5 billion in revenue within the next 5-10 years to offset a declining division. In support to the case prompt, we were provided with the following data:

  1. 10K and company financial reports for 2017, 2016
  2. Articles about reports which studied the industry
  3. Industry data (consumer behavior data)
  4. Retail industry

The strategy that was supposed to be developed had to include its feasibility, quantitative analysis, benefits, and short- and long-term effects along with their risks.

A Learning Experience

The analysis was nerve-racking due to limited time and abundant data but was an excellent learning experience. After the first round panel discussion, all the guest panelists were introduced to all the participants where they talked about the industry in general, how to prepare for similar case competitions and what it takes to be a competitive consultant. This was followed by Q&A from the audience and second and third round presentations.

Congratulations to the Winner

The presentations were further judged by these guest panelists who chose the final winner. The winning team was from Stanford University.

Overall, the experience was remarkable and has poised us for better success next time!


Manasa Shankar ’17 MSBAPM
Student, MS in Business Analytics and Project Management
Manasa is a full-time student with the MSBAPM program. She works part-time as a Junior Career Advisor with the Career Development Office of the program. Prior to joining UConn, she worked as a Decision Scientist for one of the biggest analytics consulting firms in India and has significant experience in the field of business analytics and predictive data modeling. During her tenure, she led teams to solve complex business problems in multiple verticals through data-driven solutions. View Posts