As a member of the MMS Consulting Club, I took part in the Accenture Case Competition, in conjunction with the Masters in Engineering Management (MEM) Consulting Club. For the competition, MMS and MEM students teamed up and came up with a solution to a case picked by Accenture employees. There were two rounds of competition; the first included making a PowerPoint presentation outlining our methodology for a solution to the case. In the second round, we presented our case solution to a panel including an Accenture employee. The entire winning team was then offered first-round interviews at the company.

I decided to take part in the competition because I enjoy working on cases and coming up with a solution to an issue. To start, we got to meet with the MEM students and form teams. One of the benefits of being at Duke is all of the diversity and people from different countries. Our team had me (a New Yorker), another MMS student (from North Carolina), and two MEM students from France and China. Even though none of the MMS students on the team are international, about 30% of the MMS program is (this year) and it has been great meeting people from all over the world, which is one of the major benefits of the program.

Gaining Insight on an Industry & Function

Our case team made it to the final round, and we spent at least 15 hours putting together our PowerPoint presentation for the case, which was about warranties for wind energy turbines. Seems like a bit of a dull subject at first, but I learned much more about wind turbines than I ever thought I would, and it gave me great insight into the energy sector.

The best thing about the competition was learning what it’s like to work as a consultant. Consultants work on a variety of problems throughout their careers, and have to come up with solutions to some of the business world’s most complicated issues. This case competition gave us the opportunity to get a feel for what it’s like to be in this line of work. We were given a limited amount of information and were asked to come up with a solution for a theoretical energy company, and then we had to present our findings as if we were presenting to the company’s CEO.

We used the information we had to come up with a comprehensive packaging of warranties for this company, and yes, it was a lot more interesting to us than we initially thought. It was a great experience and definitely gave me a little more insight into what it feels like to be a consultant. Many students here are still trying to figure out what they want to do for a career, and opportunities like this help us to get a better feel for certain industries. It also prepares us better for the job search, helping us to go after the careers we really want.