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Dream team Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is ready for the RICC

“We’re in it to win it”

10 November 2017

Sometimes it gets real heated during the preparations. Lars Vonk, Bart Scheffers, Tiana Schipper and Ankie Lemmens don’t shy away from any discussions, while at the same time taking a structured approach toward tackling the competition. It’s obvious, these four students take the Rotterdam International Case Competition very seriously.

Every Tuesday the four students meet. In these meetings they take on a lot of different cases. Coach Daan Gijsbertse attends these meetings too, as do a couple of other lecturers. Ankie: “They monitor, don’t ask questions during the process, but give some solid feedback afterwards. The coaching is fairly intensive.”

Three different programmes

Four Rotterdam Business School students from three different study programs represent the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences during the RICC. Lars (22) just like Tiana (20) is a fourth year student Business Economics. Bart Scheffers (21) is in his fourth year of Business Administration (MER) and Ankie (23) is a third year student of Business & IT Management.

According to Tiana their programs connect to each other. “There are a lot of overlaps. And yet everyone has a specific role within our team. If there’s an IT problem, we let Ankie do her thing. Finances are more in line with Lars’ and my skills. Bart knows a lot about business administration and strategic models. This way we have a very broad base to build on.”

Intense discussions

Lars adds: “We’re four different people. Ankie and I are more verbal. Tiana and Bart however are a bit more calm. While working on a case it’s good to make room for discussions. It’s an unwritten rule within our team that you can say whatever you want, otherwise you can’t make it work together. In practice it seems, we can all handle that pretty well.”

The four students did not choose their teammates. While participating in the qualifying rounds with different team compositions, lecturers believed the current composition would be the best one. Something the four students believed too. Bart: “Working together on this team felt natural right away, something that’s important when you’re dealing with little time to prepare.”

How do you deal with the pressure?

To prepare for the RICC we underwent a four-day ‘boot camp’ at the German Graduate School of Management and Law in Heilbronn. Bart: “They simulated the conditions we will face next week. It was good practice for us. Especially how to deal with the pressure, that’s the biggest challenge. We practice every week of course, but after a while you get used to presenting to the same students. That’s why we ‘battled’ the students who participated in the RICC last year.”

Live cases

It’s all starting in a few days. The Rotterdam Business School will organize the Rotterdam International Case Competition together with the Research Centre of Business Innovation. About 16 student teams from different countries will compete against each other during the RICC. ‘Live cases’ from companies and institutes in the Rotterdam area will be used . Which case they will get is unknown to them, they did get some additional information. Lars: “We received three online boxes containing information about the companies Bam, Huntsman and the Rotterdam Library. Representatives from these companies will attend the competition. Some more fictional cases will also be tackled at the RICC, these are written by American business schools Ivey and Harvard. We will be locked in for 3.5 to 6 hours while we work on these cases.”

Bart: “You can only use your own knowledge. We don’t have phones or internet. The only things we’re allowed to bring are four books and a couple of dictionaries, two laptops will be provided to prepare our presentations on.”

A bit of networking

The question of why the students are participating in this competition, doesn’t take long to answer. Bart: “This is the way to see what you’ll deal with after your study, while you’re still studying. You learn a lot here, but you don’t get a lot of insight in corporate life. Now you can see models being used in real life situations.” Tiana adds: “Besides that, you get to meet people from the business world. So there’s a bit of networking too.”

Guatemala and Navarra

Competition day will come to an end on the SS Rotterdam. The results will be revealed during a gala dinner. Ankie smiling: “If we win? A lot of beer will spill.” There’s not a lot of time to think about this competition, no matter what the results will be. Lars: “The following Monday we’re going to try and qualify for the Network of International Schools in Guatemala. A few weeks later we will be going to Navarra. Both are similar competitions. We’ve really got a taste of these kinds of competitions. But first we’ll focus on the RICC.”

Curious about how the team will fair in the RICC? You can follow them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter through the accounts of Rotterdam Business School.