Podium finish for SMU's Team Cognitare at the 2024 Scotiabank International Case Competition

By the SMU Corporate Communications team

Team Cognitare, SMU’s business case club, flew the university flag high at the 34th Scotiabank International Case Competition (SICC). The team of four undergraduates clinched 2nd runner up position at the competition organised by Ivey Business School of the University of Western Ontario in Canada.

SICC is a highly esteemed case competition that exclusively invites participation from top business schools from around the world. This year’s competition saw 12 teams from universities across Asia, Oceania, Europe and North America, including University of Münster, Erasmus University, the University of Hong Kong (HKU) and Korea University. 

The team comprised undergraduates Eugene Choa (Year 3, BBM), Shannon Chong (Year 2, BAcc), Dylan Tan (Year 2, BSc(C&L)) and Anuhya Bharadwaja (Year 1, BBM). They continued their finalist qualification streak to bring home the 2nd runner up accolade, following recent placings in the Thammasat Undergraduate Business Challenge and Champions Trophy Case Competition held in October 2023 and January 2024 respectively.

Contestants were tasked to create innovative business solutions for Sonos – an audio company providing a range of premium speaker products – to enable it to transition from a Contract Manufacturing model to a Joint Development Manufacturing (JDM) supply model, while penetrating the value-conscious segment.

Despite facing off with formidable competitors during the divisional round, Team SMU powered on, ultimately overcoming notable schools such as Rotterdam School of Management of Erasmus University, and qualifying for a place in the final round. The team eventually placed third in the finals, after Mündster School of Business and Economics, and Universidad Del Pacificio.

Team SMU proposed creative solutions that allowed Sonos to forge deep collaborations with their partners (through cloud collaboration and horizontal enterprise resource planning integration) to improve collaboration, quality, and costs. To break into the value-conscious Gen Z market, one that Sonos has yet to break into, the team proposed a new portable product line complemented by a social platform to enable Gen Zs to forge communities and share common interests. For example, Swifties could join an Eras Tour community and listen to Taylor Swift’s songs together, enabled by Sonos’ unique open platform system.

The judging panel, made up of experienced consultants, investment bankers and industry experts, were thoroughly impressed by Team Cognitare's ability to craft impactful yet highly feasible strategies that could transformed Sonos’ supply strategy and acquire new market segments. In addition to their insightful recommendations, the team was commended by judges and participating schools for their thoughtful analysis, strong display of teamwork and exemplary presentation.

Team leader, Eugene Choa, said, “Competing at such a high level was incredibly challenging, but ultimately rewarding. The high calibre of the competition pushed us to excel. Our success is a testament to the team’s hard work, and also the result of unwavering support from the Lee Kong Chian School of Business, our faculty advisor Dr Ma Kheng Min, and the invaluable guidance from senior members and alumni of Team Cognitare. We are deeply thankful for the encouragement and support from everyone involved in our journey to the competition.”

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