Jönköping International Business School and its center CeFEO won The Global Family Enterprise Case Competition in Vermont.
Competition was fierce in this international contest in business analysis organized annually by the University of Vermont. The competition attracts teams from many prestigious schools. This year, students from 27 countries in 19 teams participated.
“In the final there was us and a team from the Kellogg School of Management in Chicago”, says Mattias Nordqvist, director of research centre Centre for Family Enterprise and Ownership and the JIBS team's coach. “Everyone thought the others would win because they were Americans, and more accustomed to this way of working, and they had been number one all week. We really were underdogs”.
The competition consists of case studies that describe a situation or a problem facing a family business, such as a succession issue. The students then have three hours, without any outside help, to discuss the case and prepare a presentation with solutions and practical recommendations to the company. A panel consisting of entrepreneurs, advisors to companies and researchers, then evaluates the proposal. Each team will present three case studies and the top two will then meet in a final.
The JIBS team, consisting of Alina Greinert , Christian Saur , Petra Vretenar and Sanna Persson, has been preparing meticulously for the contest.
“We have practiced presenting and selling a solution. We've been training for about a month and the students have been really, really good. Americans have got this way of working with them from the very beginning”, says Mattias.And the practice paid off. Sanna Persson thinks the team also learned more and more during the course of the competition about how they'd work.
“We have learned to be more confident when selling a solution, and to perform under pressure. We had built a strong team spirit and felt confident in what we did. It was nerve wracking but fun”. The four students and their coach have got a memory for life. But the gain is not only great for them. It means a lot to JIBS too. “We've got documentation to show that our research in the area of family businesses is highly ranked”, says Mattias. “But this victory is a testament that not only is our research top-notch, but so is our teaching. And that we have incredibly talented students”.