Judging the Student Case Competition

During the IMA Annual conference in Las Vegas, I was honored to be selected as a judge for the student case competition. Five judges were selected to be on the panel, three where from academia, one currently working in industry, and one from the IMA organization.

All of the IMA student chapter members from across the various Universities are able to participate. They are asked to form teams of four to five people and to prepare a video presentation showing how they solved a case study. The case study was selected by the IMA organization and this year’s case involved a bicycle company and its issues with suppliers and organizational structure.

Once prepared, the videos are sent to various judges who watch the videos and select the teams that will advance to the next level of competition. The next level goes through the same process with four teams emerging as the finalists that will compete for the national title at the IMA annual conference.

At the national level, each team is asked to personally present their solution to the panel of judges and those in attendance. Each individual on the team needs to participate in the presentation. The teams used a Power Point presentation and provided their various solutions while standing in front of the group.

Judges were asked to score each team using a preprinted criteria scorecard given to them by the IMA and were asked to grade the teams on a one- to- five scale on the each of the criteria. Some of the criteria included; the team’s visual presentation, clarity of presentation, substance of the solutions, and their use of managerial accounting tools to solve the questions.

After the presentation, each group was asked one additional question. This question was unknown to the teams prior to the event. They were given the question and were allowed five minutes to consult with each other and present an answer to the group.

After all groups had presented, the judges went into a private room to tally their scorecards and discuss each team’s score and presentation. Selecting a winner was a difficult task for the judges. As you can imagine, at this level of competition the teams were well prepared.

Being a part of this really showed me we have excellent students in our managerial accounting programs that are top notch and ready to add value and contribute to the corporations they go on to serve. Many teams demonstrated their expertise in both calculations and soft skills. As an instructor, it was interesting to see what accounting techniques and tools the students brought to bear to solve the questions in the case study. The questions were written in a way that the students could use both financial and non-financial information in their solutions. I look forward to next year and the watching the teams compete in the finals in Denver.

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