The London Case Championship (LCC) is a full day yearly competition organised by the consulting clubs at London’s top universities: Imperial College London, King’s College London, London School of Economics and University College London. Each university produces four teams, competes in two rounds and are judged by consultants after each round.
It was 8.00 on a Sunday morning, and I was soon scolding myself for going out the night before. My teammates who were all from the MSc Economics & Strategy for Business programme with me – Heather Olson, Daniel Fleischer, Aurelia Hummelbrunner and Thomas Bouquet – were all looking like true consultants in their business casual attire.
We met-up and listened to the opening remarks of the organisers and a short presentation from the sponsor of the competition, IESE Business School. Afterwards, the teams were pooled together in four brackets comprised of four teams, ensuring each school is represented once in each bracket.
The first case
We had one hour to complete the first case. It was an interesting study where we had to help a major luxury brand retailer to obtain a net operating profit margin of 15%. We were provided with a few materials such as a document with information containing the geographical locations the company operated out of, information on its competitors and their financial statements.
Bear in mind that this was the first or second case that some of us had ever worked on together as a team. Furthermore, although we were all MSc Economics & Strategy for Business students, we had never been in the same syndicate group before. Therefore, we didn’t really know what each other’s strengths and weaknesses were.
In honesty, I wasn’t out to win the competition, I just wanted a good experience to give me an idea of what it feels like to solve a client’s business problem away from the classroom and see if I can effectively apply what I learnt in my programme modules like corporate strategy, corporate finance and accounting, to real projects.
Thankfully, one of my amazing teammates Daniel had a very useful PowerPoint template that we could use to structure our presentation. In hindsight, I believe having a template that is structured, visually appealing, and malleable played a significant role in winning the competition.
Before we knew it, one hour was almost up! Trust me, when you’re under a heavy amount of time pressure and working with teammates that you don’t have much experience working with, the time flies by very quickly. After we submitted our presentation, we were not very confident with the end result as we felt that we ran out of time and didn’t have enough quantitative data to back up our claims. However, we gave a good presentation, which I would attribute this to the numerous presentations we had to do in our programme modules.
Results of round one
This was my favourite part of the day, and you will see why in a bit. The winners of each bracket would be selected to go on to the final round. Our team was in the first bracket, so when one of the other university’s team name was mentioned in our bracket, we accepted our fate and resigned to the fact that it was a good experience.
However, five minutes later, the organisers said there had been a mistake with the announcements and that my team won our bracket and would move to the final round instead. The look on my face and that of my teammates was priceless! We didn’t believe it and had to double check, only to find out that we actually did win the bracket. Of course, we were delighted to hear this news, and now we were more determined to win the competition.
I honestly think the reason why we won this competition was due to the fifteen minutes we spent having a strategy meeting. In this meeting, we discussed what we thought we could improve on for the final round based on the feedback we got from the judges, and also what we individually thought would be necessary to win the final round. We realised that we needed to be a lot more structured and give detailed and specific tasks to each person based on their strengths at the onset of the case.
The final round
Much like the first round, the final round was an hour long. The task this time was to analyse from a list of luxury retailers, the best one the company should acquire or alternatively if they should not acquire any of them. My teammates were all determined to win the competition now, and you could see it on everyone’s faces.
There was a shift in the air as everyone was more focused and not afraid to put forward their suggestions. We strictly followed the structure and timeframe we allotted to ourselves and made a presentation that we were all very proud of.
The final round result
Unlike the first round, there were no mistakes with the announcement of the results this time. We heard our team name loud and clear! I think we all felt a sense of relief and pride with the fact that we represented Imperial College Business School to the best of our abilities.
This competition was not only an amazing experience to have on my CV, but it gave me an insight into how to think like a consultant and apply all the concepts that I had learnt so far in my modules to a business problem.