AUT MBA students win national Case comp

Five AUT Business School MBA students emerged victorious in the inaugural NZ MBA Case Competition, showcasing their outstanding problem-solving skills, teamwork, and strategic thinking.

The team was established from a pool of AUT’s top MBA students who went through a rigorous selection process.

Hosted by Victoria University of Wellington, the competition required participants to analyse the case of a retail acquisition/merger proposal. The teams had to closely analyse the company and formulate a strategy to achieve its ambitious goals.

The AUT team’s strategy involved acquiring the existing business in the Australasian market to leverage off their existing brand presence in the market, as well as testing the market with their products while also emphasising sustainability.

The judges noted their strategy was simple yet effective and focused on clear justification. This approach, combined with their collaborative presentation style, set the AUT team apart from the competition.

The judges also highlighted the team’s ability to work together as a unit during their presentation. Each team member addressed various aspects of the case, creating a strong sense of confidence and unity in their presentation.

“While strategy was important, we also needed to know how to think outside the box and articulate our thoughts,” said teammate Kashish Shah. “Because we had come together so well as a team, we were all very much in sync.”

The team shared how feedback played a pivotal role in their growth as individuals and as a team. They acknowledged the value of receiving mentorship and constructive criticism from alumni, especially from previous Case study teams. The team members applauded AUT Business School’s ongoing investment in mentorship and knowledge sharing, which they consider testament to its culture of continuous improvement.

The students also emphasised the importance of building team trust and rapport, which led to their ability to facilitate open and honest communication and helped them navigate challenging moments during their preparation.

The competition provided a unique opportunity for the team to apply their knowledge and skills to a real-world business case. It was also the ideal way to end to the students’ postgraduate course.

“It was the perfect culmination of our entire MBA programme,” said team member Hadley Taylor. “The competition gave us the chance to accelerate our learning and apply it competitively yet safely within a university setting.”

Associate Professor Fiona Hurd (BEL Associate Dean, Academic) says success in these competitions means going beyond the strategic aspects of the specific Case. It hinges on clear communication, unity, effective feedback, and a deep understanding of business principles.

“The AUT Business School MBA students’ win is a testament to the value of holistic education that equips students with theoretical knowledge and the practical skills needed to succeed in real-world business challenges,” said Fiona.

The winning AUT team comprised MBA students Daniel Matenga, Hadley Taylor, Natasha Bidesi, Kashish Shah, and Jung Eun Choi. They were supported by Ken Lee, Director – MBA and Professional Masters, and Fiona Hurd, Associate Dean – Academic, AUT Business School.