Case Competitions

Group photo at CBL Leadership Day
Students shake hands at CBL case competition
 Post-it notes on a board

In order to develop our students’ leadership, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, the Isaac and Oxley Center for Business Leadership sponsors case competitions.

What is a case competition? Essentially, student teams are presented with a business challenge currently plaguing either a real-world or imaginary company. They are directed to research the issue, given specific constraints, develop innovative solutions for the challenge and then are given the opportunity to present these solutions to a panel of judges. Often, these cases involve months of work, research proposals, academic writing and effective presentations.

Isaac and Oxley Inter-Disciplinary Case Competition

student having dinner as leaders watch

The Isaac & Oxley Center for Business Leadership (CBL) Inter-Disciplinary Student Case Competition develops students’ leadership abilities to perform more effectively (1) in holistic, unstructured decision environments and (2) using inter-disciplinary approaches. By working on this immersive case competition, students learn how to think critically about complex business challenges, as well as how to think in an inter-disciplinary fashion in an unstructured environment where there is no right answer or path towards a solution.


3 leaders sitting for pic

The competition is a unique, semester-long case program, begun in 2012, where students of all majors and years compete and work together to understand and solve complex, realistic business challenges. Past CBL case sponsors include Duke Energy and Huntington Bank, who have invested a combined $485,000 to bring the case program from idea conception to successful proof of concept.



several leaders sitting for side pic

The CBL is now seeking new corporate sponsors to sustain this impactful and unique case program. Both the case preparation and the final case solution presentations represent excellent opportunities for sponsoring organizations to observe, evaluate and interact in a meaningful way with some of the Farmer School’s best and brightest undergraduate students from all majors and years. Further it enables a sponsor to make a connection to students with its company and industry.



4 students giving duke energy case competition

Student participants explain the case program’s impact:

  • "The best thing I participated in during my academic career"

  • "This is one of my best collegiate experiences. The fact that it was a real-life case study with feedback and high expectations improved my professional and leadership skills"

  • "I enjoyed working with people with different backgrounds gaining irreplaceable experiences networking with Huntington Bank and Duke Energy executives."

KPMG: Achieving Strategic and Performance Objectives at Emirates Airlines

Center co-directors Brian Ballou and Dan Heitger wrote cases for a competition that was published earlier this year and was sponsored by KPMG and Emirates Airlines.

The case competition was originally developed for use at the 2015 KPMG International Case Competition in Dubai. For the 2016-2017 competition, more than 7,000 students participated globally, and teams from 22 countries presented at the finals in Lisbon, Portugal, in April 2017.

The top teams created viable solutions for the issues raised by Dan and Brian’s cases, which included one case involving FinTech and one involving data analytics. For instance, the latter case had students developing ways to help clients use data and analytics to enhance strategic development processes.

For more information about the KPMG competition and the cases that were published earlier this year, visit the website.