Consulting teams to compete in Ohio

By Xin Ding, Contributing writer

Several consulting teams from the University will travel to Ohio to participate in the West Monroe Partners Case Competition on Friday.

West Monroe Partners, a consulting company headquartered in Chicago, invited students to participate in a competition at Miami University based on business case studies, where students are given mock business problems and asked to solve them.

“West Monroe Partners built this competition to allow students with interest in problem solving and consulting to test their abilities in real world applications,” said Taylor Smairat, senior in Engineering and vice president for recruitment and communications for Illinois Consulting Academy, in an email.

Smairat is responsible for recruiting students for the competition. She said it will help students expand their worldviews and prepare them for encountering new problems.

Kelly Kim Yeong Sun, junior in Business, said she’s interested in the competition because she enjoys teamwork and strategic thinking.

“I would love to pursue a career in consulting,” Sun said. “It’s strategic thinking and planning in a short duration of time, which is why I like participating in case competitions and when there’s opportunity, I would love to go for it.”

During competitions, Sun said she wants to explore creative ways to work with others.

Sun found international students and domestic students bring advantages to teams during case competitions. Domestic students are more familiar with local markets and cultures, and are more knowledgeable about issues in the U.S., while international students are good at dealing with international issues and bring alternative perspectives to the group.

However, business students are not the only ones interested in participating in the competition.

Nikhil Makhijani, junior in LAS, said the case competition is a good chance to apply his knowledge of microeconomics, macroeconomics and business strategy to a simulated real-world setting.

Neelan Veloo, senior in Engineering attending the competition, said although he’s an engineering student, he approaches business problems the same way he’d approach a problem in engineering.

“I don’t see a math problem any different from the business. At the end of the day, you have some sort of equation or set that you’re trying to simplify. That’s what you do in business as well,” he said.

Veloo said students might be asked about the best way to raise capital for a specific firm, with their strategies differing based on the size and needs of the company.

“For example, if it’s a startup trying to look for funding, it’s going to be a venture capital firm. Whereas if it’s a later stage investment, we’re going for ambassador bank near private equity,” Veloo said. “So it’s about understanding what stages companies are in, understanding the different types of ways to finance companies.”

Makhijani said competitions can help students further their careers by practicing case skills and networking.

Adya Sharma, senior in LAS, will be attending the competition and said it is a good way to network because participants get to meet and work with people from West Monroe Partners.

She said the competition gives students an opportunity to have meaningful interactions with consulting professionals beyond the short elevator pitches a student might give at a job fair.

“No one said it’s leading to a job, but these people are still from the West Monroe Partners. There’s a chance that we impress them and we network with them,” Makhijani said. “There’s a chance that somehow it might lead to further opportunity, but you go there for that reason to kind of network with the employer.”

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