Cerebration Case Competition.
Organization Span: 8 months.
Annual Participation: About 500 teams from over a 100 business schools across the world.
Arguably one of the biggest business case competitions in the world. Probably one of the few B-school competitions of this scale driven entirely by the students. Definitely the biggest event organised by NUS MBA students.
Each year a few dedicated individuals take up the herculean task of continuing this great tradition started in 2005 by NUS MBA students. I had never heard of Cerebration before I came to NUS. But then I hadn’t heard of much else of the MBA world either; so as I sat there listening to the Cerebration 2009 orientation in my first semester I could not understand what the big fuss was about.
Flash forward: August 2010.
My involvement in Cerebration 2010 started right from the sponsorships phase. But it wasn’t easy. Markets were very slowly beginning to recover, and companies didn’t want to spend on what wasn’t absolutely necessary. And we saw the need to change the format of the event, and go truly global by getting large MNCs on board as sponsors.
The rest as they say is history. Only we were all so busy organising the event, that no one really had the time to write it 😉
8 months of sleepless nights working from sponsorship proposals to writing cases to coordinating judging & feedback session to making event plans. Nearly 60 MBA students worked at different stages of the event. With big brands on board, our onus had gone up manifold. The event had to live up to the stature of its sponsors. Planning, organising and attention to detail became the key drivers.
The change in format also demanded innovation. The event theme was changed from blue to Black & Gold; and all collaterals, brochures, letterheads, website etc were redesigned in this theme. The sponsors were involved in judging from early stages of the competition. One-to-one feedback sessions were organised between the semi finalist teams and their sponsors before they flew in for the Semi finals event. A new sponsorship concept, Event Sponsors, was introduced to Cerebration. New features were added to the Cerebration Website. We rejuvenated the Cerebration Facebook group and created a Cerebration twitter profile; and actively used these 2 as our channels of PR & communication.
In the last few weeks preceding the event, there were about a 100 Cerebration emails & countless phone / skype calls every day! My friends frequently joked that I would die if I didn’t stop to take rest. And there were times when I thought they were right.
The final 2 days of the event went really well, and appreciation poured in from all the Grand Jury Members, Sponsors and the School authorities. It was heartening to see that the general consensus among these parties was that Cerebration 2010 had taken NUS Business School to the next level.
But much before this, as I sat there in the audience on the finals, listening to the first presentation, I got goosebumps. I suddenly realised that despite all setbacks & hardships, we had done it.
I knew then, that Cerebration 2010 was a success. And I knew then, that it had been worth the effort.
And yes, I have realised, too well, what the fuss is about.
NUS MBA Student, Class of 2010
Co-lead, Cerebration 2010