Why Participating in Case Competitions Can Be Valuable for Your Job or Internship Search

By: S. David Ross, Associate Director

You may have seen or heard about case competitions sponsored by employers or universities. However, the idea of participating in these events may seem daunting and the advantages may be unclear beyond winning the competition and a receiving a prize. With this in mind, I want to highlight some additional benefits of participating in case competitions:

You can build your confidence in solving complex business problems, working in teams and public speaking. All of these skills are in demand by employers. What better way to demonstrate your mastery than to propose a solution and recommendations to a business problem faced by an employer. Depending on the structure of the competition, you also may have the opportunity to present your ideas in front of company representatives, perhaps senior-level executives.

A top finish in a case competition may lead to an interview opportunity. Case competitions can be a great way for employers to identify talent. In some instances, members of teams that perform well may be invited to interview with a firm for employment opportunities.

You can demonstrate your interest in an employer or industry. Some case competitions are sponsored directly by employers. Others are coordinated through universities focused on an industry or sector with employers in attendance. Regardless of who arranges a competition, your participation indicates your willingness to spend time on something not required of you, signaling your interest in a firm or industry.

Your participation in a case competition can serve as a great interview story. Whether you receive a question about a time when you have demonstrated teamwork or worked under a strict deadline, the case competition experience can provide an interesting anecdote that you can share during a job or internship interview.

There are certainly other benefits from participating in case competitions – the possibilities are numerous. So the next time you see case competitions advertised at Penn or through other channels, seriously consider joining a team and participating – you may benefit in more ways than you can imagine.

Author: David

David Ross is a Senior Associate Director of Career Services for Wharton undergraduates and occasional blogger for "Penn & Beyond."