SMU case team secures Global Champions title at the prestigious International Case Competition @ Maastricht

By the SMU Corporate Communications team

Team Cognitare, SMU’s business case club, has clinched the title of Global Champions for the second consecutive year at the prestigious International Case Competition @ Maastricht (ICC@M). Organised by Maastricht University in the Netherlands, ICC@M which is in its 14th edition, is a highly esteemed case competition that exclusively invites top business schools from across the world.

Competing against 15 other teams hailing from universities across Asia, Europe and North America, including the University of Florida, Ivey Business School and Erasmus University, Team Cognitare represented SMU with distinction at the competition took place from 12 to 18 May 2024.

Comprising undergraduates Tay Ting Hui (Year 3, BBM), Claire Soh (Year 2, BBM), Ethan Martin (Year 2, BSc (Econs)) and Ng Hsien Ray (Year 1, BSc (CS)), the team experienced a journey to victory that was far from easy, having had to go through an intense series of three cases across varied industries. Nevertheless, their dedication and ingenuity shone through, receiving a perfect score across all cases.

Notably, the team achieved first place in all three qualifying rounds and the finals (two four-hour cases; one 24-hour case), leading to its victory as the Global Champions, beating out notable schools such as Nanyang Technological University and Simon Fraser University.

During the competition, teams were tasked to devise innovative strategies for three sponsor companies – Deerns, Acorn Rabobank and Starbucks. In the final round, Team Cognitare was tasked to help Starbucks unlock untapped opportunities amongst Gen Z customers in the Asia-Pacific region.

They proposed a refreshing strategy that combines offline and online engagement methods to enhance Starbucks’ positioning as the ‘Third Place’. This strategy included the development of a gamified social experience within the Starbucks app, seamlessly integrated with new ‘to-go’ store formats to cater to Gen Z’s desire for convenience. Overall, the team focused on creating an extraordinary ‘Cosmos’ experience, allowing each unique Gen Z individual to freely express themselves through their interactions with Starbucks.

In addition to their insightful recommendations, the team was commended by the judging panel, made up of C-suite executives from the case companies, as well as participating schools for their strong display of teamwork and exemplary presentation skills. 

Commenting on the win, team leader, Tay Ting Hui, said, “Our team was motivated by last year’s championship achievement to continue flying the SMU flag high. I am proud of our team for wholeheartedly representing SMU and Cognitare with unwavering dedication. We would like to express our gratitude for the generous support of Lee Kong Chian School of Business, our faculty advisor, Dr Ma Kheng Min and senior members of Cognitare for their steadfast support and guidance in our training.”

“We deeply appreciate the invaluable advice and encouragement from everyone who contributed to our competition preparations,” Ting Hui added.

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