Another One for the History Books

Congratulations to all of our case competition participants for surviving a grueling weekend.

Teams this year brought incredible insight and determination as well as an admirable ability to adapt.  When they were surprised with the directive to create a video as part of their presentations, these teams did not panic, they simply rose to the occasion.

16 Teams presented their plans for Ericsson's role in the innovation of education as part of the Networked Society.

4 Teams advanced to the finals.

1 Team took home the $25,000 first-place prize.

First Place - Kenan-Flagler Business School – University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Second Place - Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Third Place - Fuqua School of Business – Duke University

Fourth Place -  Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California


We are so happy to have had 16 incredible teams join us for the Case Competition! We hope to see you all next year!

Finally, Final Presentations

The Case Competition judges spared no difficult questions for the teams.
The case competition is just about to come to a close with the final team presentations happening as we speak. The SMG Auditorium is packed with supportive classmates who are eager to hear how these top four teams assembled their recommendations for Ericsson. And the Ericsson judges are taking the competition just as seriously. With $25,000 on the line for the top prize, they aren't sparing any tough questions. Demands have been made for clearer definitions of revenue sources, premium content examples, price points and partnerships. But the teams have stayed cool and collected, leveraging their diverse skill sets to take turns handling each question in stride.

It won't be long now until the winner is announced. With just one team left to present, the money is on the line.

Thoughts on Education by Venkatraman

Prof. Venkatraman and a student during Collaboration Round
Professor Venkatraman was kind enough to take a few moments to share with me his hopes for the 7th Annual Case Competition and its topic of education.

For this case, he was proud to merge the ideas of technology development in schools with Ericsson's challenge to its executives to leverage a stronger digital infrastructure, creating higher efficiency for employees.

But more than that he was proud to look at ways to remove the physical limitations that often accompany education, and develop ideas to digitally spread educational opportunities to all members of society around the world. He understands that not every person has access to education, which in his words is, "a system of privilege that not all societies have access to."

Graduate students in the Boston University School of Management already have amazing access to courses examining public and nonprofit management strategies and cases. However Professor Venkatraman is hopefully that more of the real-world case learning can be brought in to the curriculum in the near future, with Boston-area partners like EMC or State Street.

"Students participating in real-life cases from CEOs provides opportunities for growth that no classroom can match," he said.

Smart Cities Galore

The teams spared no drop of creativity during the Collaboration Round. The final poster presentations offered up ideas for everything from smart city legislation to social ecosystems. While one team member took an impromptu nap on the nearby bench, others shared their visions for the cities of the future with the judges.

And a big THANK YOU to the judges who worked on the collaboration round:
  • Heraldo Sales-Cavalcante, Ericsson Executive Development Program Director
  • Mike Lawson, Senior Associate Dean of the School of Management
  • Helena Norrman, Ericsson Senior Vice President of Communications

A random sampling of some of their incredible ideas for a Networked Society of 2020.

  • Team 9 envisioned a Buenos Aires that would use the Networked Society model to monitor the heart rates of its citizens in correlation with their location in the city, and previously entered health data. The result would be up-to-the-minute notification for authorities on emergencies. For example, the system could sense when a heart rate of one person would rise in one location, such as a home. This when linked to previous information could signal a heart attack, and an ambulance would be automatically notified. Or if 20 heart rates rise in a bank location, the police authorities would be notified and a bank robbery could be detected before anyone had to move to press a button.
  • Team 12 dreamed up a smart city for Denver, focusing primarily on using the Networked Society to alleviate water shortages and traffic volume. GPS integration would allow citizens to sleep longer before work, avoiding traffic. Smart phone apps would show when hot water is available or who your ideal neighbors are based on water consumption. 

And the Finalists Are...

This was the hardest year yet to choose the top four teams, but congratulations are well deserved for the four finalists:
  • Team Ericsson Sao Paulo
  • Team Ericsson Delhi
  • Team Ericsson Cairo
  • Team Ericsson San Jose
They've already hit the auditorium to prepare their final presentations, while the rest of the teams share their posters from the Collaboration Round. They will each have 20 minutes to present their recommendations to the judges and all teams, followed by a Q&A session.

Collaboration in Session

The jackets are off and the sleeves are rolled up as teams work diligently through the Collaboration Round. Only about an hour and a half left to create a story board from the future!

16 Teams From Around the Globe

16 teams from the most prestigious graduate schools around the globe competed for the top prize of $25,000.

A Welcoming Committee

The Tech Strategy Case Competition Volunteer Committee, comprised of current MBA students, made sure the competition ran smoothly and that the only detail the teams needed to focus on was winning. Thank you to Maggie Lukaszewicz, whose leadership made it look effortless to host 16 teams from around the globe.

Catering on the Charles

A big thank you to Catering on the Charles for a great lunch. The chicken curry salad sandwiches, veggie wraps, chips and cookies will see the students through the next four hours of collaboration.

A Vision for the Future

Professor N. Venkatraman, the David J. McGrath Jr. Professor in Management at Boston University’s School of Management presented the teams with their challenge for the Collaboration Round.

The teams will collaborate with Ericsson executives to create a story board for the city of their choosing, on how technology will transform the city in the next 6-7 years. The teams must illustrate through six slides how citizens will live, work, learn and play in the city of the future. They have to envision that this poster will be displayed in an imaginary city hall, and truly illustrate the advancements that new technology will bring to every day life.

The posters will be judged at 4 p.m. in the SMG Atrium. And there's cash to be made, with the top four posters earning between $4,000 and $1,000 respectively. Sadly, the Ericsson executives only get bragging rights if their team wins.

Good luck everyone, we're looking forward to hearing some life-changing ideas.

The Collaboration Round is here!

The morning presentations are complete and the judges have begun deliberations. Decisions on the final four will be announced at 3:45 p.m.

The teams are making a stop in the Grad Lounge to refuel on granola bars and coffee to gear up for the Collaboration Round. Should be exciting to hear what their next assignment is, and to learn about the Ericsson executives they'll be working with.

Meet Team Dubai

Team Dubai found the question of how an industry leader like Ericsson can bring technology to education to be both the most challenging and interesting question of the case.

The Case

Ericsson and the Boston University School of Management have teamed up to bring a particularly challenging case to these bright competitors from around the world. Sixteen teams have traveled to Boston for this weekend to compete, some coming from as far as Seoul or Stockholm.

The case challenges participants to examine the potential role a Networked Society could play in innovating education. Ericsson hopes to build a society where anything that could benefit from being connected would be connected, mainly via mobile broadband. Its mission is “innovating to empower people, business and society.”

Teams must present:
  • Their vision of a Networked Society in education in 2015 that leverages the power and potential of mobility, broadband and cloud
  • What partnerships and alliances should Ericsson explore to make this strategy succeed?

And they must address specifics such as:
  • A video or animation to communicate ideas and insights
  • A recommended business model (products, services and/or solutions) for Ericsson in the education sector
  • How should Ericsson developing a profitable strategy in the education sector?

The teams had 24 hours to prepare their cases and it will be very exciting to hear their innovative ideas.

The full Case can be viewed here.

Professor Venkatraman wrote the case taking into consideration recent technological innovations in education, such as iTunes U or interactive whiteboards, and how they were changing the landscape of learning. He understood that while Ericsson is very involved in education through philanthropy, there is an opportunity for business innovation as well.

Deploying Technology for Education

Team Tokyo described themselves as a, "technology guru, an entrepreneur, a finance expert, and one superwoman." This was their first time working together, and they anticipated that transportation or education would be potential topics in the case. So, what did they learn about the education sector through this competition?

"The education sector is not tech savvy at all, it really hasn't changed in many years. Ericsson has been around a long time, and they have the experience to make a difference here," the team shared.

They were even strategic in staying awake. They did laps up and down the stairs and kept a steady stream of Cups of Noodles going all night. Caffeine was reserved as a secret weapon for the final round, if they made it.

While making their case for Ericsson to deploy technology in education, "We got a couple of smiles out of the judges, so that's a good sign."

MBAs Students turned Graphic Designers

Team Stockholm just finished their presentation and felt great about their work. One member was particularly proud of becoming a "part-time graphic designer" last night for their video assignment. They tried to get the judges involved in their presentation by giving them each iPads to write their feedback.

"We didn't get much of a reaction out of them, they were very 'judge-like,' but I think they were secretly surprised that we made them a part of our case recommendations," the team shared.

Now, it's time for a nap back at the hotel. Did the lack of sleep sway them from coming back next year?

"It's a pretty long flight, but we hope we'll be back!"

Time to present!

The presentations are underway, and so is the nervous pacing in the grad lounge. As teams wait to present they discussed what was most challenging about preparing their cases.

Team Delhi joked, "working with these guys was the hardest part." But really the curve ball of unexpectedly having to prepare a video presentation was their biggest challenge. "We work with iPads every day but we definitely weren't ready to make an original video."

They just headed in to present, good luck guys!


A Conversation with Hans Vestberg

Hans Vestberg, CEO and President of Ericsson, took a moment to speak with us during the Welcome Reception last night. Here's what he had to say.

And, They're Off!

The 7th Annual International Tech Strategy Business Case Competition is officially underway!

The teams have all been briefed on the competition rules by Associate Dean John Chalykoff and the case themes by Professor Venkat Venkatraman.  The participants are safely ensconced in their rooms, planning their strategies.