Students Encouraged to Think Outside the Box for Boeing Competition

Boeing case study competition winner

Natalie Chau is all smiles after winning last year’s Boeing Case Study Competition.

Natalie Chau ’13, finance, has accomplished what most students hope to achieve after graduation. She found a job. But she didn’t just find any job; she was hired by Boeing, and is currently in their Business Career Foundation Program, an entry level job program also known as BCFP.

Last fall while Chau was still an undergraduate, she decided to participate in a case study competition that was being hosted by Boeing. She not only participated, but her team won first place.

Today she directly credits the case study competition for helping her gain visibility with the company she now works for.

“The (competition) taught me the real-world problems you deal with. In class, we’re learning about theories and methods of how to do things,” says Chau. “Being able to apply that to something and have instant feedback was a great opportunity.”

And for the second year in a row, Mihaylo business students of all concentrations have an opportunity to meet, network with and be mentored by employees from Boeing- the world’s leading aerospace company.

The largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft, Boeing encourages students who have an interest in working for them to participate in this event. Although it does not guarantee employment, participation in the case study competition is considered as part of an applicant’s resume.

Eight teams of business students, both undergraduate and graduate, attended the kick-off festivities on Sept. 27. Participants learned about the scenario they will address in their business solutions.

After the initial briefing of the case study competition and detailed information on Boeing’s satellite services, each group got a taste of the pressure and excitement of what’s to come; in a fun way of course.


Drew Gough, of Boeing’s Business Career Foundation program, measures the straw tower for the “Titan Consulting” team.

The eight teams had 15 minutes to build a tower out of straws and duct tape; each item used at a cost of course; and, the tower was to be no less than 10 inches and able to hold a tennis ball for at least 10 seconds. Easy, right?

This exercise gave each team an opportunity to work together, while trying to create an item, in this case the straw tower) for a minimal cost. Each straw used and each time a piece of tape touched straw the imaginary business cost went higher.

Although the tower competition resulted in one group winning a goody bag, the real competition will give the top two teams a tour of the Boeing facility, priceless networking opportunities and a certain amount of visibility should they choose to apply with Boeing in the future.

The teams, who boast such names as “Boeing to India”, “Titan Dreamliner” and “Boeing for Innovation,” will present a business solution via a 15-minute PowerPoint presentation to a panel of Boeing judges.

The presentation will then be followed by a 10-minute Q&A with the judges, who will be acting as potential business partners.

“The point of the case study is to have the students try to figure out a solution… and seeing how creative they can be and the different approaches they take,” says Andrew Cavish ’13.

Cavish interned with Boeing and also participated in the case study competition last fall.  After graduation, he too joined Boeing’s Business Career Foundation Program.

Andrew Cavish, one of last year’s case study participants, measures the straw tower for one of this year’s groups.

This year’s participants will use the next two weeks to prepare their strategies for maximizing values and managing risks all while keeping positive cash value in the hypothetical scenario of satellite procurement.

In addition to the opportunity to wow Boeing judges during the final presentation on Oct. 18, each team will also have an inside advantage: a Boeing mentor.

Each group will be assigned a Boeing employee as their mentor for the competition. The eight mentors, each helping their designated team, will help guide the students with advice, questions and general support.

In addition to utilizing the mentors, Cavish has additional advice for this year’s competitors.

“Don’t spend too much time on one particular thing, and look for a creative solution,” he says. “Think outside the box and don’t be afraid to take a risk or take a chance on something.”

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