Skip to main content


Global Business Case Competition

Global Business Case Competition 2017 Champions: Universidad Panamericana Guadalajara.

The Global Business Case Competition (GBCC) is a leading international case competition that brings together undergraduate students from the United States and 11 other countries to compete in a fast-paced and challenging business case study. Starting in 1999 as the Global Business Challenge, our competition is one of the oldest of its kind.

About

This week-long program provides students a chance to build cross-cultural relationships, experience the city of Seattle and most importantly, participate in two real-world case studies to analyze and develop a business recommendation. The competition culminates on the University of Washington campus, where each team presents their long case solution to a panel of judges who select the GBCC Champions. The judges of the competition are experienced professionals from the local and regional business community.

Congratulations to our2017 GBCC Champions, the Universidad Panamericana Guadalajara team!

Be sure to connect with the Global Business Case Competition onFacebook

Schedule

Day Activities
Mon, April 9 Teams arrive, check into hotel & receive welcome packets
4-10 PM: Check-in to take place at Residence Inn
Location: Residence Inn Seattle-University District, 98105
Tue, April 10 **Attire Note: GBCC T-Shirts All Day**
Welcome Events & City Tour
Wed, April 11 **Attire Note: Business Attire All Day**
Competition Orientation
Short Case Challenge
Thu, April 12 **Attire Note: Business Attire for Company Visits**
Company Visits
Long Case Distribution and Case Work
Team Advisor Activities
Fri, April 13 **Attire Note: Casual All Day**
Teams work on Long Case
Team Advisor Company Visit
Sat, April 14 **Attire Note: Formal Business Attire All Day**
Preliminary Round Presentations, PACCAR HALL OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Lunch
Final Round Presentations, Shansby Auditorium, 1st Floor, PACCAR HALL OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Awards Banquet & 20th Anniversary Celebration
Sun, April 15 Teams Depart

Travel Information

We look forward to hosting your visit, and we hope that your time here will provide you with a very memorable and valuable experience. We realize you will have many questions as the competition draws near, and we hope we can answer them all for you through our website. If not, please do not hesitate to email us.

Hotel Accommodations

Student teams and their accompanying student advisors will be staying at Residence Inn Seattle-University District for the competition. The University of Washington will be reserving the rooms. Team registration fees cover room and tax costs from April 9 to April 15. Team members and advisors are responsible for any incidental costs, such as phone calls, laundry, room service, etc. All teams must stay at Residence Inn Seattle for the nights of April 9-14, 2018. Check-out takes place on Sunday, April 15, 2018.

If you would like to book nights outside of these dates, you will need to contact Residence Inn Seattle directly. Please indicate that you are part of GBCC 2018 when calling the hotel. Availability is on a first come, first served basis. Any additional dates will be charged to the individual.

Travel Logistics

Airport Pickup Schedule:

After flight information is provided by all teams, we will create a schedule which will tell teams when they can expect to be picked up at Seattle-Tacoma (Sea-Tac) International Airport. Airport pickup is available only on Monday, April 9. If you fly in earlier, you will need to arrange for your own transportation to the hotel upon arrival in Seattle.

Please note, if you are arriving earlier than April 9 or leaving later than April 15, you will need to separately pay for and secure additional hotel accommodations.

Transportation:

We will provide transportation on April 9 from the airport to the hotel and also throughout the week to all scheduled GBCC events. We are not able to provide transportation back to the airport after GBCC; teams may arrange for a shuttle or taxi at the hotel front desk.

What to Bring

Required items:

  1. Passport (& visa if necessary)
  2. Plane ticket
  3. Photocopy of passport and plane tickets
  4. We recommend $200.00-$300.00 USD for each team member for spending money. You will be responsible for your own meals on the day of arrival and the day of departure, as well as one lunch and two dinners during the long case analysis period on Thursday and Friday; all other meals and local travel will be provided
  5. Identification other than your passport
  6. Each person should have a copy of the GBCC invitation in order to expedite customs processing

Suggested items:

  1. Camera
  2. Umbrella
  3. Raincoat
  4. Rainproof walking shoes

Clothing recommendations:

You will be attending events with different clothing requirements, so please pack accordingly. You will need business attire for the presentations on Wednesday and Saturday and the corporate visit events on Thursday. For all other activities, casual attire is appropriate. Seattle’s weather can vary quite a lot in the spring, so clothing that can be layered is recommended. Be prepared for sunny and warm, or rainy and cool weather. Temperatures can range between 40 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Team Composition

  • Each team will be comprised of four currently enrolled students working on their first university degree (undergraduates).
  • No alternates will be permitted.

Short Case Challenge

The Short Case Challenge will take place on Wednesday of GBCC week.

Short Case Presentations

  • The format is a short sit down interview with the CEO of a company, i.e. ‘coffee with the CEO’. Oral presentations will be five (5) minutes, followed by a 10-minute interactive question-and-answer session with a panel of judges. If a team finishes its presentation early, it will go right ahead into its 10-minute question-and-answer session.
  • There will not be a feedback portion of the short case challenge.
  • Teams will be provided a preparation room on the day of the challenge. Teams should bring their own laptops to the preparation rooms. Headphones are also recommended as the case will involve watching videos. Teams will not be allowed to use laptops or other mobile devices during the presentation.
  • There will be no PowerPoint presentation during the short case challenge.
  • Each team member is allowed to bring notes on a single piece of paper. Notes will not be collected or scored by the judges.
  • Dress code is business professional. Do not include any graphics or words in the presentation or wear any clothing with school or country logos that would identify your school, state, or country, to keep it anonymous for the judges.
  • Teams are allowed to introduce themselves and shake hands with the judges when they enter the room.
  • We highly recommend that all team members participate in the oral presentation and Q&A session.

Short Case Judging

  • Each presentation will be judged by a panel of three to four corporate judges.
  • To prevent bias, judges will not know which teams they are judging. Please do not identify your school or wear any clothing with school or country logos.

Long Case Analysis

  • Each team will be given an extended period of time to devise a solution for an international business case. The time spent analyzing the case will be very intense and focused.
  • The case will be similar in length to Harvard Business School cases. It may address multiple geographical regions and multiple functional areas (for example, accounting, finance, marketing, and so forth). Teams may be asked to play roles in their case analysis (for example, to take the roles of firm managers or consultants).
  • To prepare for the competition, teams may want to practice analyzing past GBCC cases or other business cases such as Harvard Business School Cases. Teams are expected to produce original work. Teams may not consult with non-team members during preparation of the case analysis or on the day of competition. This includes faculty, advisors, staff, ambassadors, and fellow students.
  • It is always an advantage to be educated about current world issues.

Long Case Presentations

  • The presentations will be 15 minutes, followed by a 15-minute question-and-answer session with a panel of judges. If a team finishes its presentation early, it will go right ahead into its 15-minute question-and-answer session.
  • Be prepared for questions from the judges. The judges may be playing roles as well (for example, firm executives or board members).
  • After the presentation and Q & A session, teams will have 10-minute feedback session where they will receive immediate feedback from the panel of judges. Teams are to listen to the feedback and take notes. Teams are not allowed to further explain the presentation or use the feedback session as an extension of the Q & A session.
  • Practice rooms will be available in Paccar Hall for each team for 55 minutes on the day of competition. Please bring your own laptop to the practice room. We only provide computers in presentation rooms. During the actual presentation the provided computer must be used.
  • Dress for a business setting.
  • Do not include any graphics or words in the presentation or wear any clothing with school or country logos that would identify your school, state, or country. This will keep it anonymous for the judges.
  • Teams are allowed to introduce themselves to the judges and shake hands with them during the 5-minutes setup period.
  • We highly recommend that the presentation of the case include all team members to capitalize on the strengths of each team member.

Long Case PowerPoints

  • Teams are required to present their comprehensive case analysis utilizing Microsoft PowerPoint 2010.
  • Be prepared for the unexpected and have a back-up plan. For example, if the laptop fails, you may have to utilize the hard copies of your presentation. Color copies of your presentation, with four slides on each page, will be printed the morning of the long case competition and be available in your presentation room.
  • Choose fonts carefully to ensure that your slides show the same way on different computers. Common fonts include Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman, Palatino. If you use unusual fonts, copy the font onto the flash drive so you can load it onto the presentation laptop computer during your preparation time.
  • Each team will have paper copies of their PowerPoint slides printed for them by GBCC staff. These will be in your presentation room when you arrive. Each team will be able to hand five copies to the preliminary round judges during the 5-minute set up; seven copies will be available for the final round judges.
  • Teams will need to copy the PowerPoint file onto the two provided flash drives. Please turn in one of the flash drives for printing and presentation purposes at the designated time and bring the other to the presentation as backup.

Long Case Judging

  • Each preliminary round will be judged by a panel of five corporate judges.
  • The final round will be judged by a panel of five to seven corporate judges. The preliminary round and final round judges are different.

Resources

  • Internet: Teams will have DSL and wireless access in their guest rooms as well as wireless access in certain public areas of the hotel and on UW campus.
  • Computers: Laptops will not be provided during GBCC week. Teams will need to bring their own laptops, but due to technical differences, we may not be able to provide technical support for those laptops. Teams will be provided access to additional computers and printers on UW campus.
  • UW Libraries: Participants will have access to the University of Washington Libraries and on-line databases. Teams will also receive several blocks of time in a private library study room during the 44 hour long case analysis window.
  • Supplies: Teams will be provided with a packet of office supplies to help them prepare their case analysis. If you anticipate having special needs as you prepare, please bring those items with you. There are also several stores nearby where you will be able to purchase a variety of items.
  • Student Volunteers: UW volunteers will be available for consultation with technology-related problems. They are not allowed to teach participants how to make charts, graphs, or use the programs in any way. We do not want to give any participating team an unfair advantage.

Advisors

  • In addition to the four team members, each team must be accompanied by an advisor.
  • Teams may not consult with the advisor during preparation of the case analyses or on the days of competition. This applies to both long and short case analysis.
  • During the short case, due to space, advisors will be permitted to observe ONLY their team’s presentation.
  • During the long case, advisors will be permitted to observe all four preliminary round presentations in their team’s presentation room, but may not change rooms during the preliminaries. Advisors will also be permitted to observe all four final round presentations.
  • All long case presentations will be professionally recorded. A copy will be distributed to all teams after the competition. No additional video or audio recording of presentations will be permitted. Short case presentations will not be recorded.

Corporate Sponsors

The Global Business Case Competition would not be possible without the support of corporate sponsors. Their dedication to global business education is greatly appreciated. The following sponsors listed alphabetically help to make this competition a reality.

2018 Participating Universities

American University of Beirut, Lebanon
Maastricht University, The Netherlands
Peking University, China
Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Ecuador, Ecuador
Thammasat University, Thailand
Universidad Panamericana Guadalajara, Mexico
University of Arizona, USA
University of Hong Kong, China
University of Sydney, Australia
University of Texas at Austin, USA
University of Washington, USA
Western University Canada, Canada

If your university would like to participate in a future GBCC, please express your interest in receiving an invitation by filling out this interest form by June 30, 2018. In July, our selection committee will choose 12 teams which will be extended invitations to the 2019 Global Business Case Competition. Selected schools will receive invitations in August 2018.

FAQs

Q: What internet connectivity will I have access to at the hotel?
A: The hotel will have wireless connectivity.

Q: What technology access will we have on the UW Campus?
A: You will receive a UW NetID & password upon arrival. Your UW NetID serves as your identification as a UW student or guest. This will allow you access to UW libraries, networks, and other resources. If you bring your own laptop – with UW NetID and password, you can access wireless internet on campus. If you do not bring your own laptop – with UW NetID and password, you can log onto computers on campus.

Q: Will I have access to the UW library databases?
A: Yes, when you log onto computers in UW libraries with your UW NetID, you will automatically be allowed to access library databases. You can research more in advance on the UW Libraries homepage or at the homepage for the Foster Business Library.

Q: Will I have access to printers?
A: Yes, teams will be provided access to additional computers and printers on the UW Campus.

Q: Will I have access to a presentation clicker?
A: Yes, during the preliminary and final rounds of the long case presentation, teams will be provided with a presentation clicker.

Q: What hardware and software will I have access to?
A: Various computer centers on campus will have different software installed. However, you should be aware that these additional programs will not be installed on the presentation computers and should only be used to interpret data, not present results. You should plan to use Microsoft PowerPoint.

Q: Can I bring my own laptop and use it on campus?
A: Yes, you are required to bring your own laptops as we will not be providing them. You will need your laptop for the short case analysis on Wednesday. You may not use your personal computer for the long case presentations on Saturday. GBCC laptops or podium computers will be provided on Saturday for each presentation room. You will bring your presentation on a USB drive.

Q: What peripheral equipment is needed?
A: Please keep in mind that the US has a 120 volt electricity system. If any of your equipment is programmed to function with a different system, please bring your own converters and adapters. Headphones are recommended for the short case challenge.

Q: What if my technology question has not been answered?
A: For answers to other technology-related questions, please contact the GBCC Co-Chairs at gbccuw@uw.edu.

Q: Where can I find the competition rules?
A: Please visit the Competition Guidelines & Rules tab to view the competition rules. It is your responsibility to know them.

Q: Will our faculty advisor be able to assist us while we prepare for the case?
A: No. The faculty adviser/coach may not help team members during preparation of the case analyses or on the days of competition. This applies to both long and short case competition. This rule applies to any non-team member i.e. staff, ambassadors, other students/faculty. Only the four participants of each team will be allowed to work on the case material. Your coach can only help you prepare before the competition begins with practice cases, for example.

Q: What can I do to prepare for the competition?
A: To prepare for the competition, teams may want to practice analyzing past GBCC cases or other business cases such as Harvard Business School Cases.

Q: Will we need to bring our own supplies?
A: Teams will be provided with a small packet of office supplies to help them prepare their case analysis. If you anticipate having special needs as you prepare, please bring those items with you. If you find you need more office supplies than what is provided, there are several stores nearby where you will be able to purchase a variety of items.

Q: Will our presentations be recorded?
A: Long case presentations will be professionally videotaped and distributed to all teams after the competition. No additional video or audio recording of presentations will be permitted. Short case presentations will not be recorded.

Q: What expenses are not covered by GBCC?
A: The competition covers most meals and transportation for Tuesday through Saturday of GBCC Week. The team is responsible for covering one lunch and two dinners during the long case analysis period. The GBCC does not cover any personal expenses or expenses related to activities outside of the event schedule. Additionally, it does not cover:

  • Additional materials and supplies related to your case preparation
  • Additional food or snacks outside the scheduled meals
  • Optional events and associated expenses
  • Transportation to the airport for departure
  • Long Distance phone calls
  • Hotel room services: food, movies, etc.

Q: How does a university receive an invitation to participate?
A: The University of Washington Foster School invites selected schools from across the globe to compete in the annual undergraduate Global Business Case Competition. Invitations are sent out in the summer. Contact us for more information at gbccuw@uw.edu. You can also fill out the ‘Expression of Interest Form’ that is linked on the ‘Participating Universities’ tab of our GBCC website. See Archives for schools who have participated in the past.

Q: What is the length and nature of the case that will be analyzed?
A: We recommend that you examine the previous years’ cases. This year’s long case will be approximately the length of previously used cases. The issues, of course, will be different. The short case will be in video format.

Q: How are the cases distributed?
A: Teams will receive both the short and the long case at staggered times depending on the team’s presentation time. The short case will be distributed four hours before the team’s presentation. The long case will be distributed 44 hours before the presentations. Distribution will be staggered in exactly the same way as the preliminary presentations, to allow exactly the same time for each team to analyze and prepare their presentations.

Q: What software is used during the competition?
A: The presentation computers will be installed with Microsoft Office 2010, and PowerPoint is required during presentations.

Q: How many advisors are there for each team? What is their function?
A: We permit one adviser/coach per team. These advisors/coaches are invited to participate in many of the activities held throughout the week, including the corporate tour. They are not allowed to assist in the case analyses. They should not have contact with their teams during the case analyses periods except in the case of an emergency.

Q: What are advisors allowed to do while the competition takes place?
A: Due to space limitations, advisors are welcome to observe only their team’s short case presentations. Advisors are also welcome to observe all four preliminary round presentations for the long case, but may not change rooms during the preliminaries. Advisors will also be permitted to observe all four final round presentations.

Q: Will advisors receive a copy of the case?
A: Advisors will receive copies of the cases prior to the presentations from the Global Business Case Competition committee staff.

Q: What are some activities that advisors need to attend?
A: The following lists which events are required versus recommended:

  • Welcome Breakfast and Orientation (required)
  • Competition Orientation on Wednesday (required)
  • Short Case Presentations on Wednesday (recommended)
  • Faculty Adviser’s Social Events on Thursday (recommended)
  • Friday Business Visit (recommended): In the past, we have visited the Boeing Plant and participated in a VIP factory tour. The 2017 adviser business visit has not been finalized.
  • Long Case Presentations on Saturday (recommended)

Q: May the advisor participate in activities for students?
A: Yes, you are invited to all events during the week of GBCC. The only exception is the case preparation! Please check the event schedule for more information.

Q: May advisors do activities of their own?
A: Yes, you are welcome to arrange your own activities throughout the week. Please feel free to explore Seattle and University of Washington while you are here.

Archives

2017: Fitbit: The Business About Wrist

The case focuses on Fitbit, a company with a big share of the wrist-worn wearables market. The market has become increasingly competitive and is characterized by a convergence between the functions offered by fitness trackers (such as Fitbit) and smartwatches (such as Apple Watch). Due to this connectivity, there is a growing recognition of the privacy and security risks associated with the data generated by wearables. The teams in this competition were asked to play the role of Fitbit managers asked to recommend how to protect data from Fitbit devices. They were also asked to develop a plan for marketing Fitbit’s new data protection efforts.

Read the student charge. The champion and finalists’ presentations are compiled below.

Champions: Universidad Panamericana Guadalaraja, Mexico PowerPoint Final Round Presentation
Finalists: University of Vermont, USA PowerPoint Final Round Presentation
Finalists: University of Auckland, New Zealand PowerPoint Final Round Presentation
Finalists: Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands PowerPoint Final Round Presentation

2016: Volkswagen Group: The Emissions Scandal and the Costs of Deception

In 2007, Martin Winterkorn, the new CEO of the Volkswagen Group, led the adoption of Strategy 2018, a bold plan for the company to become the world’s number-one-selling automaker. By early 2015, the Volkswagen Group had achieved that goal, in part by increasing US car sales through offering “clean diesel” vehicles. The clean diesel engines allowed VW, Audi and Porsche cars to meet the strict US emissions rules on nitrogen oxides. Then, in September 2015, the US Environmental Protection Agency announced that VW diesels had cheated on the emissions tests with a “defeat device” – software that detected when a car’s emissions were being tested. The device reduced emissions during testing, but allowed emissions as much as 40 times higher during regular driving. Eventually it was revealed that the company had installed defeat devices in 11 million VWs, Audis and Porsches worldwide, including 600,000 in the US. Winterkorn was forced to resign and governments and customers around the world launched recalls and lawsuits. The VW Group is facing huge potential costs, as well as damage to its reputation. As new CEO Mathias Muller revises the Group’s strategy, he must address these questions: What will be the total costs of the cheating scandal, and how will they constrain the VW Group’s strategic options in the future?

Read the student charge. The champion and finalists’ presentations are compiled below.

Champions: National University of Singapore, Singapore PowerPoint Executive Summary Final Round Presentation
Finalists: McGill University, Canada PowerPoint Executive Summary Final Round Presentation
Finalists: Global Team: National University of Singapore (Singapore), University of California, Berkeley (USA), Universidade do Porto (Portugal), University of Washington (USA) PowerPoint Executive Summary Final Round Presentation
Finalists: Queensland University of Technology, Australia PowerPoint Executive Summary Final Round Presentation

2015: First Solar Inc. in 2013

Each of the GBCC teams spent 48 hours analyzing a business case on First Solar Inc. In 2010, First Solar was the global leader in production of solar panels. However, by 2013, Chinese producers dominated the world market, helped by generous government subsidies. First Solar was also challenged by falling prices for solar panels made with a competing technology. First Solar responded by vertically integrating into the solar systems business, making the company a “one-stop shop” for utility customers. First Solar’s sales have been concentrated in the US market, but they are exploring opportunities outside the US. The GBCC student teams were tasked with identifying the external forces affecting First Solar’s business over the next five years and then prioritizing the non-US target markets.

Read the case study on the Harvard Business School website. Find the student charge. The champion and finalists’ presentations are compiled below.

Champions: Chinese University of Hong Kong, China PowerPoint Executive Summary Final Round Presentation
Finalists: Florida State University, USA PowerPoint Executive Summary Final Round Presentation
Finalists: Simon Fraser University, Canada PowerPoint Executive Summary Final Round Presentation
Finalists: University of Southern California, US PowerPoint Executive Summary Final Round Presentation

2014: Nike: Sustainability and Labor Practices 2008-2013

Acting as Nike mangers, students examine Nike’s sustainability and labor practices from 1998 to 2013 and provide recommendations on three case questions: 1) Where should Nike move its collegiate apparel production? 2) What is a feasible way for Nike’s supply chain to be more transparent? and 3) How can Nike build consumer awareness concerning its improved labor sustainability projects?

Read the case study on the Harvard Business School website. Find the student charge. The champion and finalists’ presentations are compiled below.

Champions: Global Team: NHH (Norway), CUHK (China), FSU & UW (USA) PowerPoint Executive Summary Final Round Presentation
Finalists: Concordia University, Canada Powerpoint Executive Summary Final Round Presentation
Finalists: Shantou University, China PowerPoint Executive Summary Final Round Presentation
Finalists: University of Melbourne, Australia PowerPoint Executive Summary Final Round Presentation

2013: Frog’s Leap Winery in 2011: The Sustainability Agenda Case

From 2000-2010, John Williams, co-founder of Frog’s Leap Winery in California, invested in dry farming, organic, and biodynamic agriculture; geothermal and solar power; year-round employment and benefits for immigrant workers; and the industry’s first LEED-certified tasting room. Despite static production, inventory and debt load grew. Students were tasked with finding solutions to help Frog Leap increase sales and become more sustainable while remaining a small winery.

Read the case study on the Harvard Business School website. Download the student charge. The champion and finalists’ presentations are compiled below.

Champions: Concordia University, Canada PowerPoint Executive Summary Final Round Presentation
Finalists: National University of Singapore, Singapore PowerPoint Executive Summary Final Round Presentation
Finalists: University of Arizona, USA PowerPoint Executive Summary Final Round Presentation
Finalists: University of Hong Kong, China PowerPoint Executive Summary Final Round Presentation

2012: Li & Fung 2012, Harvard Business School

Students act as the top executives at Li & Fung in the midst of preparing an important presentation to stock market investors and analysts. During the presentations, executives (students) will explain the strategies that will be implemented to achieve a goal of $1.5 B. core operating profit in 2013.

Read the case study on the Harvard Business School website. Find the student charge. The champion and finalists’ presentations are compiled below.

Champions: University of Hong Kong, China Video
Finalists: Simon Fraser University, Canada Video
Finalists: Indiana University, USA Video
Finalists: University of Porto, Portugal Video

2011: Urban Water Partners (A), Harvard Business School, October 2010

Students teams took on the role of the founders and executives at Urban Water Partners. Each team was asked to develop a business plan and subsequent presentation outlining possible business expansion and possible risks.

Read the case study on the Harvard Business School website. Find the student charge. The champion and finalists’ presentations are compiled below.

Champions: University of Western Ontario, Canada PowerPoint
Finalists: Thammasat University, Thailand PowerPoint
Finalists: University of Auckland, New Zealand PowerPoint
Finalists: University of Washington, USA PowerPoint