The MBA is all about managing your time well and strategizing. On the first day of orientation we were told ‘pick and choose your battles’. They could not have been more accurate. There is a lot going on in Rotman and there is no possible way that one person can participate in all case competitions, club activities and events, career center sessions, case prep etc. whilst keeping up with academic expectations. It is indeed about picking and choosing your battles. During the two weeks of the MBA- during foundation term- I developed a massive case of FOMO. I wanted to attend every info session, every club kickoff event; absolutely everything! Within the first 2 weeks I was burnt out! I was always in a rush to do everything and hence couldn’t do anything with 100% dedication. So I decided to strategize. I made a list of all the case competitions, events etc. that I wanted to focus on next term and what my main priorities were for term 1. I decided that I would participate in a maximum of 2 case competitions in term 1- ROMA Canadian Tire case comp, RMA Tim Hortons Case Comp or the McKinsey Consulting Challenge.
The first one was the ROMA Canadian Tire Case Comp that was scheduled to take place during the first week of Term 1 from 8th-15th October. The first step was to find a team of 4 members. My study team mate, Brian was interested in participating and since we had been working very well together I knew I couldn’t find a better teammate. We found 2 other of classmates, Amlan and Dan who were looking for 2 people to complete their team, and so our team of four members formed. We got the case the day before Thanksgiving and on the first day back to school after the short break ROMA held a case comp prep session. There 2nd years shared with us some of the techniques that had worked well for them and gave us slide deck and presentation tips.
My team and I spent the next 3 days brainstorming, coming up with crazy ideas, critiquing each other’s ideas all the while pushing each other to do better. We put school work and friends aside and focused on coming up with innovative solutions and on making out slide deck as professional as possible. On Thursday, 12th Oct- the day the slide deck was due- we spent all afternoon and evening working on our slide deck, making changes over and over again and meticulously going over every detail in an attempt to make it look perfect.
Friday evening was the internal competition- amongst teams from Rotman. Out of the 14 teams the top 4 teams that were selected would go on to the final round and compete with teams from Schulich, McMaster and the other 3 teams from Rotman. We were one of the last ones to present and we knew that we had to go in with massive energy to seize attention right away. All of us delivered our well-rehearsed parts and did reasonably well in the Q&A session. We got excellent feedback from the judges but since we had not seen the performance of the other groups we were unsure whether we would make it to the finals or not.
That night we received news through email that we had passed on to the next round and we were scheduled to have a feedback session with one of the ROMA execs. Our 30 minute session is without a doubt what helped us for the final round of the case comp. Natasha was very passionate about the competition and wanted Rotman teams to perform extremely well. Following her suggestions we decided to change our speech entirely. Since we could not change our slide deck we spent the day working on our delivery.
The next day- on Sunday was the final round at Rotman. Teams from Schulich and DeGroote were there and so were executives from Canadian tire as judges. We were the last team to present for the day and we knew that once again we would have to have crazy energy to keep the audience engaged. During our presentation we were able to immediately engage the judges, they constantly smiled at our suggestions and laughed at our jokes and it seemed like they were enjoying our presentation. We also nailed the Q&A! After out presentation while the judges were making the decision, we all were waiting outside the room. My teammates and I knew that we would win- if not first place then runner up for sure! We thought we had delivered an amazing performance in there. It wasn’t just us who thought so but other teams members who were present during our presentation had come up to us and told us what a great job we had done. And guess what… we won first place! Not just that but all 3 winning teams were from Rotman!