SMU’s Business Families Institute held its inaugural BFI Case Jam from 19 - 20 August, 2022. The two-day Case Jam, the first of its kind, simulates the improvisatory and collaborative dynamics faced by strategy consultants in solving real world business challenges presented by family-owned companies.
The theme for the Case Jam was Growth Strategy, Sustainability and Family Ownership. SMU students who participated in the event were randomly assigned to five-person teams on both days to work on different case challenges. For each challenge, the teams had six hours to submit a video presentation of their analysis and recommendations.
SMU students gained a deeper appreciation of the dynamics in family-owned firms. The gamified format of the Case Jam also provided them with an opportunity to interact with existing staff and senior management in a less formal context, giving them an insider’s perspective into consulting at EY-Parthenon.
Vikram Chakravarty, EY ASEAN Strategy and Transactions Leader, EY-Parthenon said, “I was amazed by the energy and calibre of SMU students. In today’s ever changing business environment, these themes of growth, digital and family ownership grow in importance, and it was great to see the SMU students provide a variety of solutions across these themes in just a couple of hours.”
Kenneth Goh, Assistant Professor of Strategic Management (Education), Academic Director, Business Families Institute and V3 Group Fellow in Family Entrepreneurship said, “Beyond the fun and intensity of the Case Jam experience for students, the backend analytics platform developed by BFI is a novel way to identify key future of work competencies in real-world simulations that are valued by employers. This platform can be extended to simulate dynamics in other work settings in a fun, informal way.”
The top three teams for each day were awarded prizes of $2,000 for the 1st prize, $1,250 for the 2nd prize, and $500 for the 3rd prize.
On top of team prizes, the competition included an Individual Category where three winners were awarded $500 each. Individual prizes were based on data collected over the two days through a rigorous 360 system that combined feedback from peers, mentors, and judges.
All prizes were kindly sponsored by EY-Parthenon. Participants who exhibited exemplary competencies were also invited for priority internship applications with EY-Parthenon.
The Case Jam brought together business leaders in the BFI community and SMU faculty as mentors and judges, namely:
Next Gen Family Business Leaders
1. Chin Wei Yao, Executive Director & Chief Corporate Officer, HMI Group
2. Giacomo Clerici, Deputy Chairman, Coeclerici Group
3. Ho Ren Hua, Director and Chief Executive Officer, Thai Wah Public Company Limited
4. Ken Leong, General Manager, Leong Poh Kee Pte Ltd
5. Phuay Li Ying, Managing Director, PlanetSpark Pte Ltd
Annie Koh, Professor Emeritus of Finance (Practice); Senior Advisor, BFI
Geng Xuesong, Associate Professor of Strategic Management, Lee Kong Chian School of Business
Yuanto Kusnasdi, Associate Professor of Accounting (Education), School of Accountancy
Daniel Mack, Assistant Professor of Strategic Management, Lee Kong Chian School of Business
Ma Kheng Min, Senior Lecturer of Organisational Behaviour & Human Resources, Lee Kong Chian School of Business
Adrian Liong, Associate Partner, Strategy & Transactions, EY-Parthenon SG
Vikram Khanna, Partner, ASEAN Digital Leader, EY-Parthenon SG
Konstantinos Dimitriou, Associate Partner, Strategy & Transactions, EY-Parthenon SG
Philip Bai, Director, Strategy & Transactions, EY-Parthenon SG
Ravi Viswanathan, Associate Director, Strategy & Transactions, EY-Parthenon SG
Kevin Tan, Associate Director, Strategy & Transactions, EY-Parthenon SG
The Case Jam scored big as a platform to develop collaboration. Reflecting on his experience, John Foo, winner of the Most Analytical Problem Solver Award learnt that “the best strategy can only be formulated with the right mix of collaborative individuals coming from varying backgrounds. I experienced it first-hand at this competition.”
Gabrielle Soh, Most Effective Communicator Award winner said, “Among the learnings and insights that I gleaned from this competition, the one that sticks to me most relates to teamwork and team diversity. Day 2 of the competition started with me stumped by the idea of NFTs, with nary an understanding of what it even stood for. It was only through pooling together our combined knowledge and expertise that we managed to not only understand but make substantive recommendations in the NFT space.
Shivaanan Selvasevaran, Most Collaborative Team Player Award winner, said “We were grouped into teams of 4 to 5 - all strangers from different disciplines, and given 6 hours to prepare a video presentation of our solutions. All these while managing random curveballs and bonding over shared panic. For a first timer in a case jam, the high-pressure scenarios were only manageable with my supportive teammates with their contagious enthusiasm and openness in exploring novel ideas”.
Video highlights of the BFI Case Jam can be viewed here.