TIMES - Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is a case study?

You are consultant of a big car manufacturer. The company is planning to roll out a product line of hybrid vehicles in eastern Europe, a market that is currently dominated by multiple fossil-fuel-based automobile companies. How would you, as a consultant, approach the roll out and plan to acquire a significant market share within the next year.”

For this question, the solutions might vary from applying a sentiment analysis to using unknown distribution channels towards the development of a holistic marketing strategy. Many approaches are to be considered; participants have to decide on their own which approach they consider most valuable. While the participants might use some general tools such as SWOT-analysis, they do not have to. The idea of the case study is to have them figure out how to approach and solve the case.

What are the main changes in the new structure? 

  1. Inscription Fee: Every LG organising a Local Qualification will have to pay 90€ to fund the travelling costs of the Semi Final winning teams to the Final. These costs had to be covered by Semi Final organisers in the past, causing an additional financial hurdle for LGs willing to organise a Semi Final.
  2. Regional Distribution for Semi Finals: In order to reduce travelling costs and increase regional support for Semi Final organizers, the decision which local team shall attend which Semi Final should not be done based on preferences of local winners, but based on geographical regions.
  3. Final Structure: The event structure of the Final was changed from having multiple cases with multiple cases towards a hackathon-like single-case event.

We are planning to find the case from a company. What are the rules we should follow?

The main focus of the organisational part of the competition should be to ensure equal conditions to all participating teams.

This includes

  1. providing the same materials to every team.
  2. not allowing participants to bring pre-prepared materials.
  3. providing additional material if a specific tool or framework is required by the case (“please do a SWOT-analysis”). In this case, a brief description of the tool/framework should be provided to each team.
  4. not allowing other teams to be present during a team’s presentation.

We are going to start searching juries soon, what are the rules about them?

The jury should

  1. consist of at least 3 members,
  2. each of which are either academic researchers (PhDs, professors) or company representatives.
  3. be completely present throughout all presentations to ensure a fair and equal evaluation.

Who provides the cases for LQs of TIMES?

In the best case scenario, the case studies of Local Qualifications are provided by local sponsors attending the competition. That way, your local CR can sell a close interaction with students while your participants receive an industry-oriented business case.

If you do not manage to get a corporate sponsor for you LQ, we will provide you a case. But since most of our cases are rather outdated, we suggest aiming for a corporate sponsorship.

Why is it not allowed to use the internet?

Since the questions are usually industry- and market-related, providing the participants with internet access might lead to solutions based on benchmarks rather than creativity. By researching existing solutions for similar situations on the internet, participants could simply copy the approach real-world companies applied instead of developing their own.

Why is it not allowed to use Excel and Co.?  

Excel and Co. are not allowed in the local rounds. The core idea of the competition is to see how people understand the problem, react under constraints, filter out useful information, and create a unique solution to their problem. If we demand certain tools (such as Excel), the team that worked with the tool before might a significant advantage over the team that might have the better solution but cannot apply it in Excel. Our aim is to examine people’s problem solving skills, not their experience with Excel.