To paint or to not paint the future? That was the question.

By: Kimberly Versaw

I have never competed in a case competition until recently…and boy am I glad I did.  The 2nd Annual CertaPro Case Competition was held at the Simon School on Friday, November 5, 2010 where CertaPro’s finest executives came to discover some genius marketing ideas from the 36 competing students.  

When I first saw the announcement for the case competition I immediately told myself I was not going to participate, simply because I had no idea what kind of preparation it involved.  However, my roommate, Kathryn Baumbach, and I were talking about the benefits of participating in a case competition and we decided that we were going to do something different and enter the competition along with another MBA candidate, Kathleen Hartman. 

The case involved a plethora of research including an understanding of the franchise industry as well as the targeted demographics for future franchisees.  My teammates and I outlined what we needed to accomplish each night and used our time management skills to accurately project our timeline.  Our research took up most of our time during the week that we had to accomplish the development of a 3-year strategic marketing plan for CertaPro.  My team never thought that we would actually incorporate Crystal Ball into a real-life situation, but we did!  [Crystal Ball is a leading spreadsheet-based application suite for predictive modeling, forecasting, simulation, and optimization]  Throughout the week of preparation, I learned so much from applying my quantitative skills that I have further developed at Simon thus far and actually achieved results from the calculations.  Since our approach for this case was heavily quantitative, we were able to explain our assumptions and desired demographics for the judges through the effective use of our marketing campaign.  

The best part of the presentation was when we unveiled our marketing campaign and the judges faces lit up with smiles and optimism!  After an intimidating presentation, we were relieved to be finished, but still passionate about our marketing campaign.  The anticipation of the awards dinner followed us all day.  We were so proud of all of our hard work that we were just glad that the executives were able to hear our ideas and recommendations.  Unexpectedly, my team (team #2) was announced as the 2nd runner up in the case competition.  We were so pleasantly surprised that we couldn’t thank the CertaPro executives enough for presenting us with such a challenging and engaging case to work on.  The feedback that the judges gave us was very effective and prompted even more ideas on our end. 

Overall, I am very fortunate to have participated in this case competition through Simon and I look forward to more opportunities to do market research and provide companies with recommendations for their marketing plans.

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