Teams from 14 schools across the Global Network for Advanced Management competed in the sixth annual Integrated Leadership Case Competition (ILCC) at Yale SOM’s Edward P. Evans Hall on April 13-15.
The team from Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, took home the top prize, with the team from Fudan University, coming in second and the team from University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business third. Besides a trophy, the winning team picked up a check for $3,000, the second place team $1,500, and third place $500.
In a separate aspect of the competition, judges from Yale’s Leadership Development Program evaluated the teams on their group process during the case competition. The judges gave the team from UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School the top prize for having the best group dynamics.
The teams arrived at Evans Hall on Friday, April 13. Organizers Sunny Zhang ’18, Erica Luong SOM ’18, and Akshay Rao ’19 greeted the 64 contestants. Deputy Dean David Bach addressed the group, welcoming them to Yale and introducing them to the idea of a raw case.
On the morning of April 14, the teams received access to this year’s case study and were given six and a half hours to analyze the case. Each team sifted through the case’s copious amounts of data, drafted recommendations, and put together a 20-minute presentation for a panel of judges. The teams competed in three sections and the winner from each section advanced to the final.
The case study focused on Prodigy Finance, a lender to international MBA students. The case traced Prodigy’s history from its founding as a project by INSEAD students to its current position as a leading cross-border lender. The case asked students to consider Prodigy’s identity as an impact investment for bond buyers, whether the company should extend loans to students other than MBAs, and if Prodigy should use its innovative credit-scoring methodology to create additional financial products.
The Global Network raw case was prepared through a collaboration of the Yale School of Management and INSEAD. The lead authors, Vero Bourg-Meyer of Yale’s Case Research and Development Team and Javier Gimeno, the Aon Dirk Verbeek Chaired Professor in International Risk and Strategic Management at INSEAD, interviewed Prodigy executives, reviewed corporate documents, and identified relevant statistics about international students in higher education. The resulting online case study consisted of more than 12,000 words of text, 17 video segments, numerous exhibits, and links to more than 70 reports and articles.
Judges for the contest included SOM staff and faculty, students in Yale SOM’s executive MBA program, and sponsors of the contest.
The teams that won their respective sections on Saturday evening returned to Evans Hall on Sunday morning to compete for the top prizes. In the finals, the teams presented a variety of plans for Prodigy with some recommendations in stark conflict with one another. For example, the team from Renmin argued that Prodigy should expand into China immediately while the team from Oxford advised Prodigy to wait.
As the final round judges deliberated, all of the teams gathered for lunch in the Beinecke Room of Evans Hall. During the lunch, finals judge Pierre Decote, chief risk officer for Prodigy, announced the winners and then sat down for a half-hour interview with Jaan Elias, director of case research at Yale SOM. Decote also took questions from students who had analyzed his company over the weekend. Sunny Zhang then thanked all of the contestants and showed a video with highlights from the weekend’s events.
The ILCC is a student-run organization. This year’s contest was sponsored by the Analysis Group, The Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale (CITY), Yale SOM Leadership Development Program, and Prodigy Finance.