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Heavener International Case Competition (HICC), Florida, USA

Written by Puttinart Krungkraipetch, BBA #26
Heavener International Case Competition (HICC), is one of the most prestigious case competitions organized by University of Florida, Warrington. The competition was 7 days long, and was held on February 9th – 15th 2020. As an honor, this year, Thammasat University was invited along with 20 most prestigious business school to showcase their business acumen by solving real business problems provided by two sponsor companies, Northop Grumman and Techdata. 
In this year competition, I, Puttinart Krungkraipetch (BBA 26), along with my teammates, Teeravee Khuprasert (BBA 27), Tatthon Thanaboriboon (BBA 25), Panya Kanchanatawan (BBA 25), and our advisor, Supawat Likittanawong (P’ A), have taken on the challenge in competing in this business case competition. After relentlessly long 17 hours flights and a few bus rides later, we have arrived in Gainesville, the university city where towns and buildings filled with rich history of American college experiences and of course the gators. We arrived one day prior to the competition to get ourselves prepared and recovered from the time differences.
On the next morning, we were briefed about the competition rules and format which consist of a 5-hours short case, and a 27-hours long case. After that the teams were mixed into different divisions to work on a mini local case with other participants to break the ice and allows new diverse idea to be formed from the global participants. Following that activity, we have t-shirt swapped activity as well as the solo-cup Sunday which allow us to learn about the American culture. The second day after our arrival was still an activity day. On that day, we get to see the actual football stadium where finals match of all the Gators football teams were held, and where histories were made. The stadium was able to held more than 90,000 attendees, and it is a spectacular sight to be able to see how large it is in person. 

Awaited us next morning was the reason why we are all here, the case competition. Our first case was tasked to come up with new innovation using the existing technology of the short case sponsor, Northop Grumman. Northop Grumman was one of the largest military technology firm in America, with complex business structure and wide product ranges from, land, sea, air, spaces, and other services industries. 5 hours went by in a blink, we gave our best efforts to devise and present the solutions we believe would add the most value to the firm success. However, we were assigned on 4th place of the division.
However, that was not the end because the key case was actually the long case. The long case formats were 27 hours with half a day break until presentation. The task given to us was to find new product/service to add on the portfolio of the tech distributor firm who operate in a thin margin industry, Techdata. We took what we learned from short-case round to heart and adapt our style accordingly. After having put in our best efforts and the long endless discussion, we presented our solution to the judges’ panel. The result was really impressive as we felt we did well in all of the aspects of the cases. As a result, our effort did pay off as we were awarded the first place in the division. However, it took us by surprise that this first place, in fact, was a tie between 3 teams in which judges have to discuss and argue to select one final division winner to proceed forward. As discussion heated up, judges were finally having to use their last resort, the tie breaker. Tie breaker is a last resort rule use to select the controversial winner. As the name suggest, it uses score from short-case to decide, therefore we did not make it to final round in the end.
Although the case competition ended on that day, there were a lot of things we gain from it which last longer. First was the knowledge and experience of being able to compete in this prestigious case. Second was all the good memory we made as a team, and all the activities we enjoy from this competition. Finally, it is all the bonds, and relationship we made; whether it is among our team, with the buddy, and the competition. These three things lasted forever, and we are really blessed to be able to compete in this case competition.
Posted on March 8, 2020