QUEST Team Wins Deloitte National Case Competition

By Matthew Masison (Q27)

Every spring, Deloitte hosts a consulting case competition for undergraduate students. The competition is for freshmen and sophomore students and takes place in two stages – one local competition and a national competition. This year, a team made up of QUEST students entered the competition and took home the top prize. How did they do it? I talked with one of the team members to find out.

The team consisted of 4 sophomores from Cohort 27: Alex Tran, Brooke Nesselt, Conor Casey, and Josh Cocker. The team knew each other pretty well and made Nationals the year before but did poorly. Their team chemistry came up a few times during my talk with Alex. He identified their ability to work well together as one of the major advantages they had over other teams. That, combined with the insights into team dynamics that they learned from taking 190H, was one of the major factors in their success.

The event is held at Deloitte University in Westlake, Texas, which according to Alex, “is basically a resort.” The team had a lot of fun running around the campus from break room to break room, trying the snacks in each of the different themed rooms. These distractions didn’t affect their performance too much though, as they worked hard until well after midnight practicing their presentation.

The UMD Team at the Deloitte National Undergraduate Case Competition

Alex highlighted a couple of different ways their experiences in QUEST, namely 190H, helped their team achieve a drastically different result than their freshman year. Other than learning the value of communication and good team dynamics, they were also more familiar with the ideation process. More than that, they had learned not to “force the use of the quality tools, but let ideas flow.” Another important thing 190H taught them was presentation skills, especially how to prepare a good slide deck. These were the main areas of improvement over last year, and the results speak for themselves.

The other main difference from last year was confidence in themselves. Their freshman year they “went in thinking that [they] had no chance going up against students from Berkeley and Cornell.” Alex stressed how much QUEST has enabled them to be confident in their abilities and gave them an advantage over other high performing students. He stated, “QUEST students have an edge. Students from Cornell were smart, but they didn’t have as much experience with team dynamics or the ideation process.” Alex closed with something that is very applicable to all of us in QUEST. He reminds us to “make the most of your QUEST experience. You can definitely apply the things you learn here in the real world.” QUEST has a lot to offer students that really put effort into learning and developing skills that are presented to them. Thanks Alex for reminding us about that, and congratulations to Alex, Brooke, Conor, and Josh!


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