To some students, Natura, the Brazilian provider of makeup and other beauty products, needed only cosmetic changes to grow its business within the South American country and beyond.
To others participating in the Georgia State University Center for International Business Education and Research’s annual business case competition, the solution was an online makeover of the door-to-door, direct-selling model that had helped it become a multibillion-dollar brand.
To the organizers, the ambiguity in the answer is part of the beauty of the event.
Seven teams of four students each, blended from 28 participants from various universities, act as consultants asked to solve a real-world problem, backing up their recommendations with data and conviction.
The right answer is the one that persuades company “executives” — in this case simulated by a panel of 12 judges who spent half a day listening to PowerPoint presentations and asking hard questions to challenge the teams’ thinking and drive to the heart of their solutions.
Cases generally focus on cross-cultural business problems in large, emerging markets. have focused on Netflix’s entree into India and Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei’s efforts to allay fears about its cybersecurity risk.
This year’s event concluded with cash awards of $1,000, $800 and $600, respectively, to the teams that found themselves in the top three after being evaluated on a number of criteria, from presentation skills to teamwork and even the professionalism of their slides’ visual design.
The awards were underwritten by Eric Joiner, the co-founder and vice chairman of Atlanta-based food exporter AJC International and a longtime patron of the J. Mack Robinson College of Business.
Georgia State is one in a network of federally funded CIBERs around the country, and it leads a consortium of these institutes bent on improving international business teaching methods at what its grant application calls “minority-serving institutions.”
GSU-CIBER held the event for the fifth straight year, bringing together students from seven such schools:
- Claflin University
- Georgia State University
- Harris-Stowe State University
- Howard University
- Kentucky State University
- Lincoln University
- Oakwood University
First place went to a team called the Global Market Masters, followed by Team Global Leaders and Team Impact. See each team’s participants below:
Learn more about the case competition in this video highlighting the 2019 event, which focused on a Turkish chocolate company, Ulker:
Editor’s note: This article is published as part of a GSU CIBER annual sponsorship of Global Atlanta.