Competition Format

Each interested student applies individually, and the competition organizers create the teams. Each team will be composed of four, full-time UIUC junior or senior standing or graduate students for a maximum of nine groups. Since an intended goal of this competition is to have participants work on an interdisciplinary team, we would ideally prefer to have teams made up of one student from Law, one from Engineering, and two from different areas of Business. At the same time, however, we realize that some flexibility in team organization may be necessary to best accommodate the skill sets and academic backgrounds represented by those who apply to participate in this competition.

This competition is designed to challenge students to consider how ethical and professional responsibility issues are influenced by stakeholder perspectives. Therefore, teams will prepare two or three presentations with each focusing on the interests of a specific stakeholder group (details will be provided when the case is distributed). While each of the presentations should be distinct, some foundational information will naturally be repeated in all of them.

Each presentation will be no longer than 30 minutes, including time for judges’ questions. All teams will present during the Preliminary Round and must be prepared to respond to the last case problem if they advance to the Final Round.

Judges in the Preliminary and Final Rounds will consist of industry and faculty experts who will be familiar with the issues presented in the case.

Developed in partnership with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Gies College of Business, the Center for Professional Responsibility in Business and Society and BP, the competition case will have numerous ethical components. The proposed professional responsibility problems/dilemmas can potentially span any or all of the functional areas of business – e.g., marketing, finance and logistics. Given the complexities of the energy industry, teams will be composed of individuals from the areas of law and engineering in addition to business.

Competitions help further develop students’ abilities in these proficiency areas:
  • Analyze business problems from multiple perspectives
  • Understand the interplay of the functional areas of business
  • Form convincing business decisions with incomplete information
  • Work productively in a team situation that closely mimics real-life business
  • Address competing points of view
  • Confront ethical considerations
  • Apply principles of professional responsibility to business dilemmas
Case Competition Overview

The use of case competitions in business programs at American colleges and universities is a long-held and highly regarded tradition. While each competition has its own goals and format, they all provide students an opportunity to explore business problems in new and challenging ways. At the same time, these exercises offer all the rewards and challenges of working in a team to accomplish a common goal.

The advantages of using a “live case” are many. Students have the opportunity to confront a real and current business problem. They are often able to work directly with a company and its representatives to gain knowledge about the organization, its mission, vision for the future, and the functional areas of its business – operations, finance, marketing, for example. In turn, companies receive fresh ideas for how to address a particular business issue from a group of students who bring new perspectives and insights to the situation.