On November 2, eight UIC Business student teams competed against teams from Loyola and DePaul University in the CHALLENGE business case analysis competition hosted by PwC, one of the big four international accounting firms. The CHALLENGE case competition was open to freshman and sophomore students, and included 17 teams. The case problem focused on a major Midwest convenience store chain, Country's Best, and the question of whether or not to install automated checkout systems in existing stores to finance the cost of a massive expansion. Although Country's Best is fictional, the case problem included a comprehensive website, and vast amounts of financial and business data to be digested.
The UIC Business team, The Moguls comprised of Giselle Downs, sophomore accounting major, Karina Gandhi, sophomore management major, Blessielyn (Blessie) Isip, junior IDS major, and Maggie Mei, junior finance major won first prize and $1,000, arguing that, despite substantial savings, automation would do substantial damage to the company's image and reputation as "Country's Best" whose motto is "a friendly neighborhood store."
Case competitions give students the opportunity to hone their business analytical skills, and to showcase their interpersonal skills of presentation, professional presence and persuasion. Clinical Assistant Professor and faculty mentor, George Scully summarized the importance of practical practice; “In addition to the hard skills of financial analysis, the UIC Business strives to teach students the 'soft skills' of presenting a convincing argument. Grade point average is the hard skills that will get the job interview, soft skills will get the job offer.”