Business School Topics
A team of undergraduate students from The University of Western Australia Business School has won The Amazing Case, a management consulting competition run by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
Sara Schaus (Commerce/Engineering), James Hastwell (Commerce/Engineering) and Phillip Christopher (Commerce/Economics) beat more than 50 undergraduate and postgraduate teams from universities across the state to win the competition.
The two-part competition focused on Australian ISP iiNet's strategy. In the initial heat, teams had less than 24 hours to solve a problem, with solutions then judged by a panel consisting of representatives from PwC and iiNet. The top six teams then progressed to the finals.
These six teams, all of which consisted of UWA students, then completed a three-day case study, in which groups were each teamed with a PwC coach and charged with solving a current and pressing issue for iiNet.
Finalists presented their case study solutions to an expert judging panel, including iiNet CEO Michael Malone, at the PwC offices on St Georges Terrace before attending an exclusive dinner where the winning teams were announced.
The most rewarding part of the competition, agreed the students, was the opportunity to learn from PwC consultants in private coaching sessions.
‘We were given time with PwC's professional consultants and I learnt many useful skills, especially in regards to presentations,' said Sara.
‘They [the sessions] were extremely helpful in not only putting the presentation together, but also gaining a better idea of what the professional standard was, and how we could get there,' added James.
The competition's short timeframe, however, created its own challenges for the participants.
‘The hardest part would have been completing the first round presentation with a third of the team inter-state,' said James. ‘Phillip was in Sydney for all of the first round, so we had to organise a working schedule that would still allow us to take advantage of his spot in the team. We managed to separate some of the project into subsections, while other parts were completed via phone conferencing, allowing us to complete the project on time.'
More than just completing the project on time, the team placed first, winning $3,000 between them and gaining paid internships with PwC's Management Consulting Team.
In 2011, its inaugural year, The Amazing Case was supported by UWA student societies Finance Association of Western Australia (FAWA) and UWA Enterprise and Consulting Society (ECS).
Lincoln Tan, FAWA co-president, said, ‘Teams participating in the competition had the opportunity to meet and network with members of PwC's consulting team as well as gain a practical insight into the work that a management consultant does.'
Praising the benefits of the competition, Sara encouraged students to participate in future years. ‘This was the first year the competition ran and it was a tremendous success,' she said. ‘We had plenty of interaction with the client, iiNet, and they looked closely at all the ideas that the competitors put forward so the competition was extremely relevant, solving a real world problem. It was a fantastic learning experience and well worth the time sacrifice. PwC also organised the competition very well and I would definitely recommend it to students in the future - a very worthwhile experience.'
Director, External Relations
UWA Business School
T: +618 6488 8171
M: 0419 950 027
UWA Business School
T: +618 6488 1346