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Annual Kogod Case Competition

Join us on campus for one of the premier events of the Kogod School of Business.

The Kogod Case Competition is an excellent opportunity for students to sharpen their communication skills, presentation style, and problem-solving techniques.

Students have the opportunity to network with business leaders who judge the competition and the event is open to all graduate and undergraduate students at AU and invited Kogod-partner schools.

Register now in the "Registration & Participation Criteria" section below!

Questions? Contact Andrew Toczydlowski at (202) 885-1982 or kogodcasecomp@american.edu.

What is Case Competition?

Case Competitions focus on an issue faced by an organization and students work together to recommend solutions. These competitions, held around the world, are an excellent opportunity for students to sharpen their case analysis and problem-solving techniques, leadership and teamwork expertise, and communication skills. Additionally competitors build their resume and network with employers.

Who: All undergraduate and graduate (including WCL) students at AU as well as partner schools of Kogod are invited to compete in teams of 3-5 students. There are three competition divisions: Freshman/Sophomore, Junior/Senior, and Graduate. The three divisions ensure that students are competing against others who have had similar experiences or course work. Our judges are mostly alumni and area business leaders, many of whom have been judging the Competition for more than 5 years!

What: There are two rounds in the competition. The first round is a digital round where teams will submit a video recording of their presentation in mid- to late-January. The recording is reviewed by judges and scored. The top five teams are then invited to Kogod to compete before a panel of judges in-person in early- to mid-February.

Where: Online (preliminary round) and on the American University campus (final round)

When: Registration opens in October, workshops to help AU competitors prepare are hosted in November, the case is released in early January, the digital preliminary round occurs in mid- to late-January and the in-person final round occurs in early- to mid-February

Why:

  • Network with employers - Meet alumni and business leaders and provide them with your resume
  • Build your resume - Case Competition participation will impress.
  • Improve case analysis skills - You'll need them to succeed in school and beyond.
  • Increase your Market Value - Next time you have an assignment for class or work, you'll have added skills and experience.
  • Gain leadership, teamwork, & communication skills - Collaborate and make decisions with two to four other students under a deadline.
  • Practice case method of interviewing -Get vital preparation for this complex interviewing technique.
  • Take business outside the classroom - Real world business is competitive and interactive.
  • Develop confidence - Essential in networking and presenting.
  • Get expert feedback - Receive critiques and compliments from judges.
  • Connect with classmates - Build relationships with future colleagues.
  • Win cash and other prizes - Cash prizes are awarded to the teams who place 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in each division!
  • Have Fun - Late night pizza with the teams during case preparations and case day receptions.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

**REGISTRATION FOR FREE AGENTS IS NOW CLOSED; ALL REGISTRANTS MUST BE A MEMBER OF A TEAM**

You can register as a Free Agent (to be placed on a team with other Free Agents) or as a member of a Team. The deadline to register as a Free Agent is Friday, December 1 at 5 p.m. The deadline to register as a team (or to add/change members of your team) is Wednesday, January 10 when the case is released.

Questions? Please contact the organizers at (202) 885-1982 or kogodcasecomp@american.edu.

Participation Criteria

  • In order to compete, a student must be an enrolled undergraduate or graduate student at AU or an Invited Partner School during the Spring semester.
  • AU Undergraduate students must have a cumulative GPA of at least a 2.5 to compete.
  • AU Graduate students must have a cumulative GPA of at least a 3.0 to compete.

Registering as an Individual

To register as an individual to be matched with others, please write "FREE AGENT" in the "Team Name" field. There will also be a Free Agent Social where all Free Agents can meet each other and develop teams themselves in December. See the Workshops & Events section on this web page for more information.

Registering as a Team

If you are registering as a member of a team, please write your team's name in the "Team Name" field.

  • Each team can have 3-5 members. Members can be added to or changed on your team at any time until the case is released.
  • Teams will not be eligible to participate if the team's division changes due to members leaving the competition. Your team must meet eligibility requirements for your division on the morning of the competition.

Teams

Teams must fall into one of the following divisions:

  1. Freshman/Sophomore: Team is comprised of freshmen and/or sophomores (by credit hours); no juniors, seniors or graduate students are allowed on the team.
  2. Junior/Senior: Team is comprised of a majority of juniors and/or seniors (by credit hours); can have no more than two (2) freshmen or sophomores and no graduate students.
  3. Graduate: Team is comprised of a majority of graduate students; can have no more than two (2) juniors or seniors and no freshmen or sophomores.

Team changes will be accepted through 5 p.m. on the day before the case is released and must be communicated with the competition planning team at kogodcasecomp@american.edu. Your team must meet eligibility requirements for a division by this time even if that division is different than the one for which you were originally registered. See the FAQs section on this page for more information on teams.

Workshops and events are specifically designed for Case Competition participants who want to prepare for the competition.

Kogod faculty and staff will lead sessions and provide important case analysis and presentation tips. Events also include a panel of judges and a panel of professionals with expertise in the case topic. Workshops are open to all competitors and it is recommended that at least one member for each team attend every workshop.

These events will help you build skills and excel on competition day.

BREAKIN' IT DOWN: CRASH COURSE ON CASE ANALYSIS

Monday, November 13 from 5:30–6:30 p.m. in MGC 245

Do you have limited experience in working with cases? What are the important things to look for when reading a case for the first time? Professor Sicina leads a crash course on Case Analysis. Don't miss this popular and helpful workshop. Note that this event is only open to AU competitors.

WORKING THROUGH A SHORT CASE

Tuesday, November 14 from 8:30–9:30 p.m. in MGC 245

Professor Elms shows participants how to analyze and respond to a short sample case. You can read the case before the workshop! There is a copy on the Blackboard site (competitors will be added to the Blackboard site after registering for the competition). Note that this event is only open to AU competitors.

CREATING, ORGANIZING & PERSUASIVELY PRESENTING YOUR CASE COMPETITION SLIDES

Wednesday, November 29 from 5:30–7 p.m. in Kerwin 2

The Kogod Center for Business Communications builds on the same short sample case that Professor Elms used in her session to guide participants through best practices in persuasive presentation and organization You may attend even if you missed Professor Elms' workshop. Try to read the case (available on the case competition Blackboard) ahead of time. Refreshments will be served. Note that this workshop is only open to AU competitors.

FREE AGENT SOCIAL

Friday, December 1 at 5:30 p.m. in the Kogod Student Lounge

If you're on your own and looking to form a team for the competition, this is the opportunity to meet other free agents. For the past several years, free agent teams have consistently made it to the final rounds and placed well in the competition. Note that this event is only open to AU competitors.

PANEL OF EXPERTS

Wednesday, January 17 from 6–7:30 p.m. in the Kogod Student Lounge

A panel of experts, executives with expertise in the case topics, will answer your questions and give you insights into the case. Names of panelists will be revealed when the case is released! Refreshments will be served following the event. The format of this event is questions from the competitors that the panel will answer. Note that this workshop is open to all competitors and will be live streamed/recorded.

MEET THE JUDGES

Thursday, January 18 from 6:308 p.m. in the Kogod Student Lounge

A panel of judges tells you what they look for in presentations; what makes a good or bad presentation and solution; and the type of questions they might ask.

Important Dates

Tuesday, October 17
Registration opens
Friday, November 10
Registration deadline for free agents
Wednesday, January 10

Case released (and team registration deadline)

Sunday, January 21
at 11:59 p.m.
Preliminary round submission deadline
Sunday, January 28
Finalists announced
Friday, February 2
Finalist resumes due for judges
Thursday, February 8 through Saturday, February 10
(actual presentations on Saturday, February 10)
Final Round
Thursday, February 8

Team Check-in & Welcome Reception

This is for all competitors, advisors, judges, and Kogod faculty and staff. Join us at 7 p.m. in the Kogod student Lounge.
Friday, February 9

All Day

Company site visits, speakers, lunch, and a fun event (throughout the day)
Saturday, February 10

Breakfast, Registration, & Presentation (9:00–10:00 a.m.)

Undergraduates: Kogod Harris Lounge (outside room 118)
Graduates: Kogod Terrace Lounge
Judges: Kogod Student Lounge

Final Round Presentations, 10:15 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

Freshman/Sophomore: Kogod School of Business, Room 234
Junior/Senior: Kogod School of Business, Room 118
Graduate: Kogod School of Business, Room 233

Lunch & Remarks, 12:25–1:25 p.m.

Mary Graydon Center, Tavern

Networking Reception & Awards Ceremony, 1:30–3 p.m.

Kogod Student Lounge

Release of the Case

The case will be released for online download in the Case Comp Blackboard course on Wednesday, January 10th at 11:59 pm.

Research and Outside Experts

Once the case is posted, coaching by faculty members or school staff or contact with outside experts is expressly prohibited. Teams are expected to conduct any and all necessary research through publicly available resources. Use of all library resources, including pay-for-subscription services such as Lexis-Nexis, is welcomed.

Students MAY NOT gain assistance in any form from anyone other than the Center for Business Communications or comparable business communications/preparation office at other institutions, including but not limited to faculty sponsors, professors, parents, friends, or personal contacts of any kind whose ideas are not publicly available (i.e. published online).

The Business Librarian may help you conduct research but not answer any questions about the case content or possible solutions.

Each team is permitted to have presentation run-throughs with the Center for Business Communications or comparable business communications/preparation office at other institutions, prior to the competition. Feedback in these sessions with the team will be restricted to clarity, organization, format, and style. Feedback on content or strategy will not be given.

Your team will be disqualified from the competition if you violate this rule. 

Preliminary Round

Each team will submit a video presentation which may include PowerPoint slides but no other visual aids. The length of the video will be no longer than 10 minutes. Videos longer than 10 minutes will be disqualified. 

Day of the Finals Round

Registration and USB Drop-off: Student registration begins at 9:00 a.m. and ends at 10:00 a.m. on the day of finals. Undergraduate students will check in and drop off their presentation (on a USB that will be returned the week after the competition) in the main lounge of the Kogod building. Graduate students will check in and drop off their presentation (on a USB that will be returned the week after the competition) in the Terrace Level Lounge in Kogod. A light, continental breakfast will be available at both locations.

USB Drop-off Deadline: 9:45 a.m. A USB drive containing the final copy of the presentation must be submitted by 9:45 a.m. on competition day at registration. All team members must be checked in by 10:00 a.m. 

Provide Your Resume to Judges

One of the benefits of being a finalist is sharing your resume with all judges. Each team member must submit a resume to be given to all judges via the Case Comp Blackboard site. The deadline for inclusion is the first Friday in February at 5:00 p.m. Your resume must be submitted through Blackboard.

Final Round Presentations

There will be 10-12 judges evaluating each of the final round of presentations. Judges will review the final round of the same division throughout the round. Presenters will be allowed to use PowerPoint but no other software or visual aids are allowed. 

Guidelines for PowerPoint Presentations

  • Presentations will be displayed on laptops that operate on the Windows platform.
  • All presentations must be saved in Microsoft PowerPoint 2016 format. (Note: Presentations will be viewed on computers with Microsoft PowerPoint 2016.)
  • All presentations must be saved to a USB Drive. (Note: Please test your presentation files before the day of the competition.)
  • The USB must be clearly labeled with your team's name.
  • The presentation file should be the only item on the USB and should be clearly named.
  • Sound effects are NOT allowed in the presentation.
  • Graphics ARE allowed in the presentation but animation effects are discouraged.
  • To achieve the best presentation quality, color should be set to 16 bits (high color) and the screen should be set to 800 x 600 pixels.
  • In the case of technical difficulties, each team is allowed to bring printouts of their slide show to give to judges if the laptop or projection fail (plan for 15 judges, i.e., bring 15 copies of the presentation and at least one for the team.) You may also bring a backup copy of your presentation on a USB drive in case the file on the drive malfunctions. Ten minutes will be allotted to fix any technical or equipment problems after which the teams must use their handouts. 

Guidelines for Team Presentations

  • Presenters must be dressed in business attire. 
  • All team members must speak during the presentation. 
  • Note cards are allowed to be used during the presentation.
  • The time limit for the presentation is 10 minutes (followed by 10 minutes of Q&A by the judges during the finals). Time limits will be enforced.
  • Hand outs and/or props or displays are NOT allowed. Hand outs will be allowed in the case of technical difficulties. See above for more information. 

Scoring

The scoring structure is:

  • Critical Issues: 10 points
  • Evidence: 10 points
  • Recommendations: 10 points
  • Q&A: 10 points
  • Delivery: 10 points
  • Overall Impression: 10 points

The maximum total score is 60 points. Click here to view the score sheet.

Tiebreakers

In case of a tie entering the final round, the team with the highest score in the Case Analysis and Case Recommendation sections will move to the final round. If there is still a tie, a coin will be flipped and called by the scoring official.

Once all teams have presented in the finals, judges will be asked to rank each team (1-3). If there is a tie in the final round, the team with the highest rankings will win the tie. If there is still a tie, seven judges will be selected at random from all the judges. The team that has garnered the highest scores from these randomly selected judges will win the tie. The names of all the final round judges will be placed in a box, and the scoring official will pull the names of seven judges out of the box. 

Awards

  • Each member of the winning team in each division receives $175.
  • Each member of the 2nd place team in each division receives $125. 
  • Each member of the 3rd place team in each division receives $75.
  • The Slivinski Award will go to the team in the freshmen/sophomore division who did not move on to the final round. Each team member will receive $50. 

Case Competition Sponsorship Levels

For more information about sponsorship, contact Andrew Deal, Development Assistant at (202) 885-6368 or adeal@american.edu.

Signature Sponsor - $25,000 (Limited to one exclusive sponsor)

Recognition as Signature Sponsor on all publicity to students, judges, faculty, staff and external audiences, including postcards, newsletters, flyers, website, participant gifts, competition day signs, and others. Option to include a promotional item in gift bags for students and judges. Opportunity to have up to two information tables at the competition. Opportunity to hand out awards to winning teams with Kogod Dean(s). Sponsor may send up to six judges.

Networking Luncheon Sponsor - $10,000 (Limited to one exclusive sponsor)

Recognition as Networking Luncheon Sponsor on website, programs, and all competition day signs. Special recognition at the Lunch by Dean of School. Opportunity to set up an information table at lunch. Option to include a promotional item in the gift bags for students and judges. Sponsor may send up to three judges. Inclusion in Dean's sponsorship recognition announcements.

Student Breakfasts Sponsor - $5,000 (Limited to one exclusive sponsor)

Recognition as Breakfast Sponsor on website, programs, and signs at the breakfasts. Opportunity to set up an information table at breakfasts. Note: Graduate and Undergraduate breakfasts are in separate locations. Inclusion in Dean's sponsorship recognition announcements.

Judge Breakfast & Orientation Sponsor - $2,500 (Limited to one exclusive sponsor)

Recognition as Breakfast Sponsor on website, programs, and signs at the breakfasts. Opportunity to set up an information table at breakfasts. Note: Graduate and Undergraduate breakfasts are in separate locations. Inclusion in Dean's sponsorship recognition announcements.

Networking Reception Sponsor - $2,000 (Limited to one exclusive sponsor)

Recognition as Reception Sponsor on website, program, and signs at the reception. Opportunity to set up an information table at reception. Inclusion in Dean's sponsorship recognition announcements.

Competitor Award Enhancement - $1,000 minimum (Open to multiple sponsors)

Recognition as an award sponsor on website, programs, and signs at lunch and awards reception. Opportunity to provide a cash amount to increase current award amounts ($175 per competitor for 1st;$125 for 2nd;$75 for 3rd). Award amounts received will be event split between all award levels. This sponsorship also allows for in-kind items for winners in each division. In-kind items should be valued at least $50 each.

Pre-Competition Workshop Series Sponsor - $1,000 (Limited to one exclusive sponsor)

Workshop series for student participants runs from November to February and includes 9 events such as: Meet the Judges;Breakin' It Down: How to Analyze a Case;Delivering a Powerful Powerpoint;Free Agent Social and the Panel of Experts. Sponsorship includes recognition on all workshop emails, flyers, and announcements;on website and program;on signs at all workshops. Option to set up an information table at up to four of the workshops. Inclusion in Dean's sponsorship recognition announcements.

Information Table on Competition Day - $500 (Open to Multiple Sponsors)

Sponsor may choose one location/time from the following -student breakfast (graduate or undergraduate), judge breakfast, undergraduate competition area, graduate competitions area, luncheon, or networking reception. Inclusion in Dean's sponsorship recognition announcements. K-LAB staff member will coordinate information table set up with any other sponsors whose level of sponsorship includes a table.

Who can be on my team?
There are three divisions of teams:

  1. Freshman/Sophomore: Team is comprised of freshmen and/or sophomores (by credit hours); no juniors, seniors, or graduate students are allowed on this team.
  2. Junior/Senior: Team is comprised of a majority of juniors and/or seniors (by credit hours); can have no more than two (2) freshmen or sophomores, and no graduate students.
  3. Graduate: Team is comprised of a majority of graduate students; can have no more than two (2) juniors or seniors and no freshmen or sophomores.

The purpose of this is to group participants with similar skill levels so judges in your rooms will not be comparing teams with different skill levels.

What happens if we want to add or remove team members?
There are two reasons we recommend not adding or removing members once a team has formed: Work load and team division changes.

The reason we allow up to five person teams is a balanced distribution of work that goes into creating a presentation for the Case Competition. Teams with less people will have more work to do individually than a team with more people.

Your team must also fall into one of the three divisions. In most cases, teams will still be eligible to compete due to members of different class standing entering/leaving the competition but doing so may result in a division change. Your team must meet eligibility requirements for a division when the case is released even if that division is different than the one for which you originally registered. This may be an issue in the following situations:

  • If a team is comprised of three (3) juniors, a freshman and a sophomore, they would be in the junior/senior division. If two juniors wish to leave the team (leaving only a junior, freshman and sophomore), this team would still meet the minimum number of members required to participate but would not be eligible to compete because they no longer fit into any of the divisions.
  • If a team is comprised of three (3) graduate students, a senior and a junior, they would be in the graduate division. If two graduate students wish to leave the team (leaving only a graduate student, senior and junior), this team would meet the minimum number of members required to participate but would not be eligible to compete because they do not fit any of the divisions.

Why is there a GPA requirement?
Participating in the competition requires a significant amount of time and energy. We determined that students who are on academic probation will not benefit from the competition in the same way that students who are in good academic standing will benefit. Undergraduate students whose GPA is below a 2.5 and graduate students whose GPA is below a 3.0 should focus on their coursework in the spring semester, trying to improve their GPA and looking forward to competing next year.

Can I register as a free agent and then move to a team later?
Absolutely. We recommend registering yourself as soon as possible to save a space. Of course, if you have a team formed, you should all register as soon as possible, but if you find teammates later, you can add them to your team. If you register as a free agent and would like to be added to a team later, just email kogodcasecomp@american.edu. Unfortunately, you can't save spots for team members and we can not "complete" partial teams once the competition has been filled, so don't delay!

Can I still participate if I'm not a Kogod student? Or, can I include students from other AU schools on my team?
Yes. The Kogod Case Competition has value for all students at American University. The event is open to all graduate and undergraduate students at AU. Students from all academic backgrounds and levels of experience will enjoy and benefit from the event. We have had all schools represented by competitors in the past and hope to do the same this year! The case that students will analyze encompasses communications, nonprofit management, public policy, and law, in addition to business.

How do I determine my class standing? (Undergraduates)
To determine your class standing for your division eligibility in the Case Competition, your must have the appropriate number of completed credits by the start of the Spring 2013 semester.

  • Freshman: 0-29 completed credits
  • Sophomore: 30-59 completed credits
  • Junior: 60-89 completed credits
  • Senior: 90+ completed credits

If you are unsure of your class standing based on completed credits, please consult with the Undergraduate Advising Office.

What support is available to help prepare for the competition?
We provide several resources to help you be prepare for the competition. First, the Case Competition Blackboard site will be your "one stop" for case competition resources, including videos of past finalists and updates from staff. Additionally, a comprehensive workshop series has been developed to give you a "crash course" in case competitions. See the Workshops section on this page for details about the competitions available.

I'm a freshmen/sophomore... Do I have the business knowledge I need to participate?
We get asked this question a lot…and the answer is "Absolutely"! A big part of the competition is working on a team and learning how to analyze a business case from any level of experience. As a freshmen/sophomore, you will gain experience in how to manage your time during a competition and how to work on a team so that in future years, you will be able to focus more on the application of your business knowledge. In addition, the opportunity to network with judges could land you your next internship and give you a solid experience to highlight during an interview. Finally, the opportunity to interact and network with upper division Kogod students could help you make new friends and get connected with the Kogod student community.

How can I highlight the case competition on my resume?
The Kogod Case Competition is a great addition to your resume as well as integral to your interview prep. The KCCD staff is prepared to help you highlight this experience to fit the jobs/internships you are looking for. We hear time and time again that students have landed a job or internship because of the skills they acquired during the competition and/or the network they cultivated during the event.

What time commitment is required to participate?
You probably hear this saying a lot but "you will get out of the competition what you put into it." Remember, the case competition is not required, but you are working on a team with peers who are committed to giving the case competition their best shot. So, you need to pull your weight. Although workshops are optional, they can often save you time in the long run by giving you tips and insider information about case competitions. Case competition isn't an excuse for missing class, so make sure you plan accordingly and prepare class assignments and readings in advance so ease the workload that week.

How is the competition scored and how are teams ranked?
Each presentation will be observed and scored by a panel of judges who are business leaders and alumni. It is important to remember that this competition is different than classroom grading. Judges are not faculty and they will each come to the competition with a background of experiences that will, inevitably, inform their scoring. To prepare judges, we send each judge the case in advance and judges will engage in a training session lead by Kogod faculty and KCBC. We hope students will embrace the opportunity to be in front of a real panel of professionals and appreciate the diverse experiences brought by each of our judges. The scoring rubric used by judges will be made available on the Blackboard site for the Competition.

Why are partner schools invited to send a team to the Kogod Case Competition?
The Kogod School of Business values:

  • its globally diverse student body and faculty
  • partnerships with the people and institutions shaping international change
  • educating its students to be competitive in the US and abroad
  • offering exchange and study abroad opportunities
  • educating students and institutions around the world about the Kogod School

Benefits of inviting partner schools to the Kogod Case Competition include:

  • providing AU students the opportunity to see how business students from another school conduct case analysis
  • giving AU students experience competing in a global marketplace
  • demonstrating Kogod's value to a wider audience
  • strengthening the relationships between Kogod and its partners

Which partner schools are invited?

Some of the past schools invited include:

  • ESCP-Europe in France
  • Ceram Business School in France
  • Rouen Business School in France
  • The Helsinki School of Economics in Finland
  • Universidad Pontificia de Comillas- ICADE in Spain
  • The American University in Cairo in Egypt
  • Universidad Adolfo Ibañez in Chile
  • The University College Dublin in Ireland
  • The Aarhus School of Business in Denmark
  • The BI Norwegian School of Management in Norway
  • The Chinese University of Hong Kong in China
  • The University of Queensland in Australia
  • The International University of Monaco in Principality of Monaco
  • Kuwait University, College of Business Administration in Kuwait
  • WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management in Germany

The list grows every year and this year, includes domestic schools who have invited us to participate in their competitions and/or are located in the DC area.

Will all of the partner schools have a team?
No. We expect just a few schools to have a team.

Who pays for the other school's teams to attend?
The partner school is responsible for all expenses related to their participation in the case competition.

Are registration spots reserved for partner schools?
No, students/teams from partner schools must register in the same way that students at AU register .

Kogod Case Competition

When

Case Released: January 10

Preliminary Round Presentations Due: January 21

Final Round Presentations: February 8-10

Where

4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016 Get directions

Register Now