5 May 2017

The journey to the top

To be honest, I was completely surprised and shocked when EY announced my team, ‘Risky Business’ as the winner of the EY Case Competition. I think we all were pretty surprised. The four presentations we had just watched were so incredible! 
The USYD Business cheer squad

Looking back to the week prior, we weren’t even sure if we were going to submit our report because we didn’t think we would be able to finish it in time. We somehow managed to submit it, make it to the campus heats and had the privilege to go up against UNSW in the final round, held at EY's office in the Sydney CBD.  

Initially, preparing for the competition itself was stressful. After reading the case itself, we frantically researched the chosen topic – learning analytics and the university experience. This topic was interesting and engaging because it was such a relatable and relevant issue to university students and the future. Over the next week, our team read numerous articles which covered the topic to cultivate a deeper understanding of learning analytics. We then tried to develop our own take on the idea. 

After many long nights, we persevered and developed Lightbulb. This creation was the result of our week-long brainstorming sessions in the lead up to the campus finals. Our concept is a mobile application which combines all aspects of the student experience to encourage engagement and excitement within university. This ‘lightbulb’ theme flowed through our whole presentation, and became the core part of our solution itself.

After finding out we had made the campus heats, we attended the workshop presented by Dr. Zina O’Leary about the art of pitching. The workshop was genuinely so insightful and we have learnt so much on the do’s and don’ts of case competitions and pitching.

The campus finals consisted of the top 8 USYD teams, where only two would progress to the final against the UNSW teams.

The Risky Business Team (Sophie Jiang, Michelle Yang, Georgiana Ma and Hillary Liao) - left to right

As we only had a few days in-between the campus heats and finals and very little time to practice, by the time finals day had come around we were all very nervous and unsure of how we would go. We were told that our team would be the first one to present – which was quite daunting as it meant that we had to set the bar high! Luckily we had our very own USYD Business squad to cheer us on. The presentation went well, but it was the 5-minute question time that we were nervously waiting for. In the end, the nerves were replaced with relief and happiness as soon as we sat down after we finished the pitch and question time.

Throughout the journey, we met so many inspirational individuals and have definitely learnt a lot through the process. I highly recommend anyone thinking of entering a case competition to enter because the experience is amazing!

By Hillary Liao, current Bachelor of Commerce (Liberal Studies) student at the University of Sydney Business School and Vice President of the Network of Women.

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