Ten MMS students just wrapped up two months’ worth of heavy tech research and debate. This year’s first Center for Technology, Entertainment and Media (CTEM) Case Competition was titled “MOBILE WARS: Google vs. Apple.”

The Challenge

I signed up to participate, and halfway through the exercise, I asked myself what and why I got into this. Two teams, each with 5 students, were challenged to make a call on which company would be successful in the mobile space by 2015. Through a 10-slide PowerPoint deck, we had to give an overview of the current landscape, provide analytics, and give recommendations to CTEM Director Tony O’Driscoll. After hearing his comments and critiques, we presented to Google Director of Mobile Partnerships Chris LaSala, who brought an insider’s perspective to the question.

The Solution

Both student teams said Google would ultimately win the “war” because of its diversified business offerings. We also thought it would be much easier for Google to use its analytics on its various services to better cater to cell phone users. In addition, Google is set to acquire Motorola Mobility, meaning it will enter the hardware space. This means Google can produce its own phones, thus lowering prices. Furthermore, the Motorola acquisition provides patent protection, thus staving off potential lawsuits that could have cost Google hundreds of millions of dollars.

I have made several PowerPoints and given numerous presentations before, but this was different. It was much more interactive, tech-savvy, analytical, and to-the-point. For such a broad topic, synthesizing all the necessary information into 10 slides proved to be a daunting challenge. Nevertheless, our team did it!

The Added Benefits

The competition provided hands-on experience and industry insight that we’re able to highlight during job interviews. So, the competition actually had multiple benefits that I didn’t fully recognize at the onset. One of my team members, Alex Swan, used her experience to help her land a full-time consulting position at IBM. I, on the other hand, leveraged the skills I learned along with other experiences, to land a corporate strategy consulting position at Wells Fargo.

I think my participation in the real-world competition may have given me a leg up. It definitely provided me with insight on the industry and the consulting function. I never imagined myself doing strategy work, but that’s what I’ll be doing post-graduation. The CTEM competition is a large reason for that decision because it allowed me to learn about an industry that wasn’t initially of interest to me, and I ended up with an eye-opening experience.