On Friday, October 4th, the Operations and Information Management department hosted its annual MIS Case Competition. Focused on exposing UConn students to real business problems, the competition asked participants to work together in order to create and defend potential solutions. This year, the case surrounded Connecticut Bank, a fictional financial institution attempting to enhance its security measures to further bypass the consequences of identity fraud. Biometric technology was the main focal point across teams–from fingerprint scanners on credit cards to voice authentication for mobile banking applications and call centers.
Throughout the day, each team expressed their business solutions to a panel of judges in the form of a 15-minute presentation. Each presentation was followed with 10 minutes of Q&A, where judges tested teams on their ability to think on their feet. “We asked [students] difficult questions, not because we wanted to give [them] a hard time, but so we could expose [them] to [an additional challenge],” said judge Craig Calvert. The best teams were those who evidently rehearsed their slides and supported each others’ answers when appropriate.
During the Awards Dinner, which followed the competition, students were thanked for their participation. While not all teams walked away with a cash prize (the top award being $500 per person), they each had the courage to tackle the challenge. All teams were given one week to research and design their slides on a topic that is still emerging and, to an extent, theoretical. They had to crunch numbers, scale technology, and generally think for both the bank and the consumer.
Not all winning teams were well acquainted with case competitions. In fact, the first-place team was composed of two first-time competitors: Julia Moody (MIS ’21) and Dean Perkins (Management ’20). Named The Buzzbees, both used their trust in each other and honest feedback to pave their way to victory. “I gained confidence as we went through the process of practicing,” said Julia. “I also learned that having team members with different perspectives can really make a difference in a project.” After Dean and Julia were awarded their first-place certificates, Dean had this to add regarding his experience: “I feel a little bit surprised, but I knew we put the effort in. Our greatest ally was planning and…practicing. We picked on each other and looked for areas of improvement. By the time we got to [the competition], we were relatively calm.” Dean and Julia had a third member of their team who had to drop out due to health reasons, further emphasizing the strength of proactive teamwork.
We would like to extend a warm thank you to those faculty members who volunteered their time to help make the MIS Case Competition a reality.
Interested in the MIS Case Competition? Stay tuned for the next round coming up in Fall 2020.