Cornell EMI Case Competition

Sunday, November 26th 2023

Everything started on September 04, 2023, and ended 2 months later, on November 03, 2023, in New York during the Cornell Emerging Markets Institute Conference and the 2nd place for the “Fletcher Frontiers”.

During our orientation week at Fletcher, Molly, Anthony, Desmond, Tom and I decided to take part in this year’s EMI Cornell competition as a team and registered in time for the Early Birds deadline (09/04/2023). The overall aim of this competition is to find solutions that are beneficial to all stakeholders, taking into account the growing role of multinational companies in emerging markets. This year, the case study was about a Brazilian semiconductor manufacturer. Yes, semiconductors, you read that correctly! Definitely not a topic I would have chosen for myself. However, we couldn’t change that after all. As soon as we received the presentation and all the information from Cornell (September 23, 2023), we had exactly one week (until September 30, 2023) to develop our strategy, propose solutions, and prepare a presentation. And that was more than challenging, trust me! Especially as our lectures and assignments were not paused, but continued to run in tandem. And none of us really knew anything about semiconductors. It was quite a challenge to understand the whole thing! I never thought I would learn so much about it. But somehow we managed to do it and were able to hand in our presentation together with an audio recording on time on September 30, 2023.

And then it was just a matter of crossing our fingers. Throughout October 12, 2023, the day on which the five finalists would be announced, we waited anxiously for the feedback. But unfortunately, it didn’t happen. And then, just as I was about to go to bed, Molly called me. At 00:31 on October 13, 2023, we received the email that we had made it to the final. Of course, we couldn’t think about sleeping after that. From that point on, we could only think of one thing: “New York, here we come!”. Well, unfortunately, our mid-term exams still separated us from this wonderful experience, but that couldn’t be changed.

As soon as we got through the exams, it was time to prepare our speaking notes, practice the presentation, and prepare for the question section again and again and again.

Faster than any of us expected, November 2, 2023, arrived and we were on the train to New York. Compared to Deutsche Bahn, the train arrived at Boston South Station on time, but it was very slow, even though we already took the faster train option (Acela Express). We arrived just in time for breakfast and were able to enjoy the whole day in New York before the conference was held on Friday. Thursday evening we had dinner at Sanmiwago & Botbar together with MBA students from Cornell Tech University, finalists of the Cornell EMI Mark Mobius Pitch Competition, and our competitors. Unfortunately, not all of them were able to come to New York in person, as the journey was quite long in some cases.

The following universities reached the final of the Cornell EMI Corning Case Competition 2023:

  • Team Blazing Stars from Indian Institute of Management Indore, India
  • Team Bluestone Consulting from Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, University of Delhi, India
  • Team BRICS from SC Johnson College of Business, Cornell University, United States
  • Team Fletcher Frontiers from Fletcher School of Global Affairs, Tufts University, United States
  • Team SIMulation from Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary

Overall, 127 teams with over 580 students from 49 different universities and 11 different countries took part in this year’s competition. The competition was therefore extremely tough, which added to our anxiety.

On Friday, it was time to get up early and head to Roosevelt Island, as the conference was taking place at Cornell Tech’s Bloomberg Auditorium. Although I’ve been to New York before, I’ve never made it to Roosevelt Island. The island is located in the East River between the Upper East Side and Long Island City and offers a beautiful view of the skyline. From Manhattan, you can even take the Roosevelt Island Tramway to the island and enjoy New York from above. We met other conference participants already in the tramway and looked for the Bloomberg Auditorium together. Then we went through the presentation one last time before the conference started at 9 am.

Fortunately, after a short opening speech, the Cornell EMI Corning Case Competition started immediately afterward and we were the 4th team to give our presentation. Unfortunately, we had a few technical problems at first because the organizer didn’t have our presentation. However, we were prepared for everything and were able to send our PowerPoint quickly (thanks to technology). Within seconds everything was over. Surprisingly, there was only one question about the strategy we had developed; apparently, we had already answered all the other ones during the presentation.

If you’re wondering how our competitors’ presentations or our own were, you can watch them on YouTube (our presentation starts at minute 58:34).

Afterward, we were able to relax and enjoy the rest of the conference. The lunch break was then used to explore Roosevelt Island. At the very front of the island – with a view of Manhattan – is the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park, which is home to the Four Freedoms Memorial, appropriately with a view of the UN.

At 5 p.m. it was finally time for the award ceremony and with every nomination where we were not announced, our joy grew. We are very proud of ourselves and that we made it to 2nd place!

Before this somewhat lengthy blog post comes to an end, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of the participating teams, not just the finalists. The subject was not easy and the competition was very strong. Although I “only” saw four presentations, they only emphasized the whole point.

In the end, there is always the question of what was missing to win, but I couldn’t be more proud of our 2nd place. We all just started our studies two months ago and, at least for me, this was the first competition ever! And then we made it straight to 2nd place with this huge amount of competition! Now I can only hope that the remaining two years of my Master’s degree will be just as successful!

Second place for “Fletcher Frontiers”

Appreciating the last moments of sunshine

A snapshot of joy

Finally made it to the Rockefeller Center

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