A case competition is an activity wherein teams would compete against each other to solve a case study largely related to business and financing. These competitions are usually designed to last for shorter durations, from one to three days. This gives participants more challenge and motivation to come up with the ideal solution in a short span of time. In some competitions, contestants are asked to study the case and solve the problem all in one day.
Most probably, case competitions began in the United States, open for national universities in the country. After a couple of decades, the event has spread across the world. Asia also hosts numerous case competitions, specifically in countries such as China, Japan, and Singapore.
A case competition can be open for different educational levels and come in different formats. More competitions are catered toward undergraduate students and sometimes extend to graduate students taking up a Master of Business Administration (MBA). In some competitions, both graduate and undergraduate students compete against each other. Corporations can also have a case competition among themselves, with professionals as participants. The more challenging competitions are those where both professionals and students compete against each other, bringing the playing field to the same level.
Rules within a case competition may vary, but most, if not all competitions have generally the same system. Teams of four to five contestants, along with a coach or a mentor, are sent in as representatives of a university or a corporation. After preparations and briefings, the host gives each team the same case study to look over within a time limit. After the specific time has elapsed, the teams are given more time to determine the main concerns within the case study, and create a solution for the issues.
In the planning stage of the case competition, teams can be given one workroom each to maximize their brainstorming. In a stricter environment, the host can prohibit the use of cellular phones, Internet access, or other tools to prevent the team from getting any outside help. Other machines, however, such as computers and printers, can be provided.
After coming up with solutions and plans, the teams are also tasked with giving a final presentation to a panel of judges. These judges, if translated to a business setting, can be viewed as the board of directors who will give the final say regarding the issue. Presentations can be visual, auditory, or both. Once all presentations are finished, the judges are given time to decide on the winning team. Prizes and awards can be given in financial or non-financial forms.