Qualifying Guidelines

This page is intended as a quick reference for coaches and teams when preparing for the Qualifying Round.  For full details, please consult the official competition rules.

Timing

The Qualifying Round case will be released on Thursday, November 8, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. Atlantic Standard Time (UTC–4:00). At that time, team advisors/coaches will be able to download the case from our secure server (details to be provided via email) and print copies for their teams.

The Qualifying Round will end on Thursday, November 22, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. Atlantic Standard Time (UTC–4:00).  All teams must upload their completed case solutions prior to that time. Factoring in the 10-hour download/upload window, this means that advisors/coaches should download the case no later than 8:00 a.m. Atlantic Standard Time on Thursday, November 22.

Student Eligibility

The Competition is open to any student registered for the duration of the Competition in an undergraduate (bachelor level or equivalent) business program (commerce, administration, management, etc.) at any member institution of the Network of International Business Schools or through special invitation made by the host institution and the NIBS Board. Students on exchange at a member institution for the entire academic year may compete for that member institution, provided they meet other eligibility requirements.  Individuals who have previously participated in the Championship Round may not enter the Competition again.

To be eligible, a student must not have completed his or her degree requirements by the time the Championship Round is held.

To ensure fairness to all participants, the following guidelines should be kept in mind…

  • Only the team advisor/coach should have access to the download/upload function.  It is not for use by students under any circumstances.
  • The team advisor/coach must upload his or her team’s report to the secure server within 10 hours of downloading the case. This includes time to print copies of the case, administer the Qualifying Round, and confirm that the correct file is being uploaded.
  • Each team has a maximum of eight hours to prepare the case analysis report.  It is the responsibility of the team advisor/coach to ensure that this time limit is strictly enforced.
  • With the exception of the advisor/coach, no one should see the case before the eight-hour preparation period begins.  In addition, no one should discuss the case with the team until the preparation period is over and the case analysis has been collected.
  • Internet access is strictly prohibited during the eight-hour preparation period.  Computers should have their network connectivity disabled, and mobile devices should be collected by the advisor/ coach until the case solution has been submitted.

Report Format

To facilitate checking of the word count, the case analysis report should be submitted as a Microsoft Word file and NOT a PDF. Text should be double-spaced using Calibri 11-point font; no handwritten material of any sort will be accepted. A margin of 1 inch (2.54 cm) should surround the text. The report should include a title page, specifying the name of the academic institution and the individual team members. This information should not appear anywhere else in the report (i.e., teams should refrain from including identifying information in headers and footers). The main body of the report must be no longer than 1,500 words. This limit will be strictly enforced. Any team exceeding the limit will be summarily disqualified. The report may also include a maximum of five (5) pages of appendices, the purpose of which is to provide support for the assertions and conclusions expressed in the body of the report. This content is separate from the main text and will not count toward the word limit. Appendices should be numbered, titled, and appropriately referenced within the body of the report. Although teams may use this space as they see fit, appendices in case analysis reports commonly include elements such as:

  • Financial statements
  • Analytical models
  • Diagrams / illustrations
  • Itemization / categorization of key information
  • Implementation timelines

As in all business writing, appendices should be succinct, well laid out, and professionally presented. Teams should avoid the temptation to cram excessive content into these pages or employ overly small type. In addition, appendices should not be viewed as an opportunity to circumvent the length restriction on the main body of the report; any effort to do so will be poorly received by the judges.

Materials Permitted During the Preparation Period

  • Four copies of the case;
  • Blackboards, white boards, or flip charts;
  • Paper, pencils, and pens;
  • Two computers equipped with word processing, spreadsheet and graphics software (MS Office recommended);
  • One blank, formatted memory stick.

In addition, each team member is permitted one (1) reference book—typically, a general or discipline-specific business textbook—and a calculator.

NOTE: Teams are not permitted to use templates during the Qualifying Round.  All content in the Qualifying Round submission—including (but not limited to) figures, charts, tables, and financial statements—must be created entirely from scratch during the eight-hour preparation period.