KPMG provided several workshops in winter semester in the Czech Republic. One of them focused on real business cases was Ace the Case. It is divided into two days. In the first day you are given presentations from KPMG consultants and directors, whereas in the second day you have the chance to bring all of the first day experience into practice.
Day one – Theory
Before lunch sessions, leader – Gray Krueger
At the beginning the participants are divided into teams of 4 to 5 people. To break the ice and relax the atmosphere there is a meet-the-others game (well it’s called bingo and you can win a 8GB flash drive 😉 ).
After that you are given a simple Tennis club case study to catch on. The time is divided into scanning and reading. Your goal is to find what matters and what does not. It is not only text based, several exhibits are included as well. And here comes the first issue – once you see something you are familier with you start with it. Even though it might not be important at all.
Lecture 1: Figure out what is important. Don’t waste time on what is not.
KPMG provides you with a cheat sheet to help you. The whole process of the analysis is divided into 7 steps. It’s not a purpose of this article to write them down, but you can get a feel from their publicly available case studies, just google them 😉
With regards to Gray – I haven’t seen such a positive person for quite a long time. His enthusiasm was contagious. There couldn’t be a better start of the day 🙂
The first session in the afternoon is dedicated to quantitative analysis. You might expect it to be more detailed. Then you are really surprised that in 90% cases you don’t need to know even the NPV formula. I can say this is the biggest surprise, at the university this is considered as the real basics 🙂 Anyway it is still quite easy to get confused while analysing the numbers. Filip provides great overview and a simple way to not to get lost.
Lecture 2: Don’t make it difficult when it’s simple.
Before a short break David (or his brother, who knows 🙂 ) gives a pretty funny introduction into presentation skills – how to be a real presentation star. After break? Intensive 3hours with your own presentation in front of all the participants at the end.
Lecture 3: You feel nervous while presenting? 99% of the audience will not notice that.
Throughout the day, all the theory is followed by practice. Great way how to remember the key points and keep you up. You won’t feel tired even after 10 hours.
Day two – practice
You are given approx. 15 pages case study from real business, laptop, flipchart, pencils and refreshment. Internet is not allowed to use. The goal of your team is to prepare the strategy for your fictive customer. You have 3 hours. After the first reading you feel you can’t make it on time. After a team brainstorming you feel you are the best. And then you don’t have much time to prepare your presentation 🙂
Lecture 4: Don’t make too many slides. On the other hand 1 slide is definitely not enough.
The purpose of the presentation is not to help you, but to help your customer to keep track. Your analysis could be the best, but if you don’t sell it in the right way you can’t win. Your analysis must be followed by your recommendations, you action plan. You have to have the data to support your plan. Why should your customer build up just two factories even though he wants to build 4, etc.
The time is up and you have to present your solution to the fictive board of directors (Well, it’s up to you to figure out who you are presenting your solution to – is it BoD, a president of the company, stakeholders?) The board consists of KPMG consultants and directors. After judgment they visit your team to provide you with feedback. Invaluable experience.
So is it worth it?
I must say YES. Here are few key points:
- You learn how to organize your research. Doesn’t matter if it is business case or master’s thesis.
- You realize a lot of things and will probably start to think in a different manner.
- You meet people from real business who also provide lectures at universities.
- You can easily figure out what is important, what is not and how easily you can get distracted.
- You get free lunches and snacks 🙂
- You meet new people, you cooperate in a team and divide roles.