Dec. 8, 2022Print | PDF
Laurier Case Team (LCT) members Vivek Bhardwaj (Business Administration (BBA) and Computer Science (BCS) with UW, Double Degree), Isabella Brodeur (BBA), Kyle Chang, and Imaad Mian (both double degree students in BBA and Math (BMath) with UW) earned third place at the 2022 FEP – U.Porto International Case Competition. Representing the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University, the team participated virtually this year.
Running over the span of four days, competitors solved a real-life business problem in this extensive case study. This year’s case company, Galp Energia, challenged students to develop a 10-year strategic plan for their commercial business unit to adapt its fuel stations network according to changing environmental and consumer trends. Teams were asked to identify how trends such as the shift towards electric vehicles and increased needs of consumer flexibility, would impact their business model.
We had the opportunity to chat with the team to learn about why they were inspired to join LCT and to hear about some of their favourite memories from the competition.
Sofy [Caryannopoulos] played a key role in helping our team prepare for this competition. She has given us lots of feedback over the last couple of months during training. We are extremely grateful that she selected us to compete at this prestigious competition. Sofy is also responsible for coordinating alumni coaches to help us in training as well, which makes the training process even more valuable.
The case company was Galp Energia, a leading Portuguese energy corporation. The core of the case challenge was to develop a 10- year strategic plan for Galp’s commercial business unit to adapt its fuel stations network according to changing environmental and consumer trends.
We presented a plan that we called the “POWER Strategy”, which consisted of five key actions: Prepare, Optimize, Win, Expand and Rollout. The essence of the plan was to develop a Galp application that can be used on car operating systems. The app would direct consumers to the most convenient electric charging station and also collect precious data for Galp. This enables them to provide custom offerings to customers which is important as personalization can increase customer spending by up to 18 per cent. We also recommended that the application keep a tally of the customer’s CO2 emission reductions throughout the day. Our strategy was forecasted to reduce carbon emissions by 5x within the 10 year model.
We did not travel for this case competition. It was held virtually from Tuesday, Nov. 15 to Friday, Nov. 18. We had a great time socializing with other competitors at the opening ceremonies. Moreover, a few of the organizers from the University of Porto came to Waterloo to compete at the Lazaridis International Case Competition in October, so it was great to see them again!
Kyle Chang: My first case competition experience was in Grade 9 when I first joined the DECA team at Crescent School [Toronto]. The DECA cases in high school were very short (one page in length) and we often didn’t have more than 30 minutes to prepare a solution. When I first came to Laurier, I was keen to make that next step and provide more detailed solutions to more challenging cases. There were many case competitions hosted by Lazaridis Students’ Society clubs in my first and second year. However, the Laurier Case Team is considered the “gold standard” for case competitors at our school.
What really interested me in joining the Laurier case team was the community aspect of the team. By being on the team, I am so lucky to build friendships with some of the brightest students at Laurier who will go on to work in all fields of work - such as finance, consulting, tech, and law. I also have tremendous opportunities to learn from very successful alumni of the Laurier Case Team, and it has honestly played a key role in helping me secure my internship next summer in consulting. Overall, being on the Laurier Case Team has been the highlight of my university career! It has been so much fun learning from my peers and hanging out with them before and after our practices!
We train on a weekly basis. We’re very lucky to have many alumni, faculty, and case competition teammates to provide us feedback at the end of each practice.
Kyle Chang: It was really fun working with all three of my teammates. It was actually the first time that any of us had worked together in a competition, so there was also some time spent during the resolution period to get to know one another a bit more or share some funny moments.
Our presentation was focused on a walkthrough of the life of Electric Elana, a 35-year-old Portuguese mother who has two young kids. Her kids tend to whine a lot in the car and a part of our POWER solution was to give her personalized discounts on items such as Portuguese egg tarts (pastel de nata) that would satisfy her kids. Isabella and I wanted to add whining child sounds to the presentation, but we couldn’t find anything on YouTube. So instead, Isabella and I recorded our own voices while mimicking whining children and saying phrases like, “I’m hungry!” and “Are we there yet?”. We had a lot of fun recording these sound effects and the judges smiled when they heard this in the presentation!
Another funny story is that Kyle and Imaad have competed against several Australian teams that have won case competitions. So, during a portion of the 34-hour resolution period, Imaad began showing off his amazing Australian accent impression. We truly loved hearing it!