Cold Hands, Warm Win: Haas Undergrads Take Second in Singapore Competition

Singapore winners (l. to r.) Rosa Huh, Jenny Mi, and Ryan Liu, all BS 13; and Deiya Pernas, BA 13 (Econ./Stat.)

A team of Haas undergraduates did its part recently to make it easier to text with fingers numb from cold weather. Rosa Huh, Ryan Liu, and Jenny Mi, all BS 13, along with graduating Economics and Statistics student Deiya Pernas, took second place (as first runner up) Sept. 16 in an international case competition that challenged students to develop a sales and marketing strategy for a Singapore startup manufacturing gloves for smartphone users in frigid climes.

The team beat out 11 other schools, including USC and Copenhagen Business School, to claim its title in the NSU-DBS competition, hosted by the National University of Singapore and sponsored by the Development Bank of Singapore. Students had 22 hours to prepare for a session in which judges could interrupt with questions at any time.

Their winning approach included an idea for in-store competitions for speed-texting while wearing the gloves and even a complimentary product idea for a sleeve that would let users in cold AND wet climates use smart phones in the rain. “I think we won due to the comprehensiveness of our approach,” says Liu. The team outlined a plan not just for a YouTube video, but for a YouTube Takeover (where main video screen elements interact with sidebar and other screen elements). The students also provided a comprehensive valuation and a list of the top seven reasons venture capitalists should invest to help the firm with the pitches for funding.

"It was the first time any of us had done a one-day case,” says Liu, who says the team was well prepared by Haas’ broad curriculum. “We had specialists in every area,” Liu says, noting that he handled the financials, Mi focused on marketing, Huh on strategy, and Pernas on product.

“This is a strong showing by our students,” says Erika Walker, executive director of the Haas Undergraduate Program, “and the trophy looks great!”