Undergrads Place Third in International Case Competition

A team of Haas undergraduates took third place at the United Overseas Bank-National University of Singapore (UOB-NUS) Case Competition in Singapore earlier this month.

The international competition featured 12 teams, with first place going to the University of Singapore and second place to Hong Kong University.

The competition required teams to complete two cases simultaneously during a 30-hour period. Most teams spent 15 hours on each case, but Berkeley team members Kiriti Manne, VK Vu, David Park, and Arushi Saxena, all BS 15, split into pairs to tackle one case per team for the entire period, something no other team attempted. Students said the strategy worked well.

“We were able to do this effectively because we were all generalists rather than specialists,” said Saxena. “It was a risk, but it paid off well for us. There was lot of last-minute briefing and teaching each other, but I think we did a good job coming together as a team and presenting as if all four of us were involved with both cases.”

For the first case, teams were challenged to grow the business of a Singaporean public transit operator. The Haas team’s solution, again unique among the competitors, was to employ data analytics to create demand-adjusted bus routes and develop dynamic advertising targeted to rider demographics.

The second case involved turning around Malaysian Airlines. Here the Haas students delivered recommendations similar to those of their competitors, namely, reducing costs to keep the airline viable in the short term.

All four Haas team members also performed well in the Q&A. “We were all able to think fairly quickly on our feet,” Park said.

Berkeley team members David Park, VK Vu, Kiriti Manne, and Arushi Saxena, all BS 15, are joined by Erika Walker, executive director of the Haas undergrad program, and Matthew Yeo, the team’s assigned ambassador and a student at NUS.