IEU Experience


This six-day competition gathers international students in one city where they are briefed on a real-world business challenge.

Last month, four of our students participated in the International Case Competition 2016, organized by the University of Porto. This six-day competition gathers international students in one city where they are briefed on a real-world business challenge. Beatrice Castelli, Alicia Volk, Thitivut Ekphaisansup, and Jorgen Sten Andersen spent a week in Porto representing IE University, where they were introduced to other international students.

We spoke with Thitivut and Jorgen to learn more about their experience in Porto.

“It was our first time participating in a case competition, and our team did very well. The competition consisted of two parts: a warm-up challenge and a live case competition. For the warm-up challenge, we were given the task of coming up with creative solutions to transform the city of Porto into a start-up hub. Each team delivered a 10-minute presentation to the representatives from the municipal government, who showed a deep interest in our ideas.

This was followed by a case competition in which one of Portugal’s biggest corporations presented us with a strategic business problem to solve. We were given 48 hours, during which we had to stay inside our hotel rooms with no access to communication with the outside world. Real business experts from different companies attended our presentations, and the panel of judges was quite intimidating.

Nevertheless, our presentation went well, and we had the chance to learn from watching the other teams present their solutions as well. Overall, it was a great learning experience for us to apply what we have learned in class to a practical problem within a company. Our host, the FEP School of Economics and Management, were also very kind to us, and made our experience in Porto wonderful.”

Thitivut Ekphaisansup

“The week in Porto was a great experience for us! Even though it was a very demanding week, in terms of workload when solving the case, we really enjoyed every aspect of the competition. Our first day was spent walking around in the city and visiting several attractions, while getting to know the members of the other teams. We were 48 participants in total, representing universities from all over the world.

The following day we gave our presentations for the warm up challenge—how to scale up Porto’s startup culture—before our team finished off with dinner at a fantastic seafood restaurant. Then, on Wednesday, the launch of the case took place, meaning that from that point on, we were locked in a hotel room for 36 hours while we solved the case. This was certainly an interesting experience. It’s one thing to work continuously over such a long period of time, but living with those peers makes it much more challenging. Luckily, we didn’t kill each other, and remained friends after the deadline had passed.

On Friday morning, we pitched our solution to representatives from Deloitte, Sonae, Lidl, and other well-known companies. Unfortunately, we did not reach the final, but overall we were happy with our performance. It was incredible to see so many bright students give their assessment of the case, and retrospectively we do not regret a second of the competition.”