1.1    Invited schools will select a team of four undergraduate students and a faculty advisor to attend the competition.

1.2    Student participants can be of any major and any year (ie. first year business major, fourth year engineering major, that is up to the team’s discretion).

1.3    All students selected for the team must be currently enrolled in an accredited undergraduate (Bachelor) program. Students on the team cannot have enrolled in or completed any post-graduate coursework


2.1    To ensure anonymity of the teams and impartiality of the judges, the teams will not be known by their school names and should not mention their school names until the final presentations have concluded.

2.2    Each team will instead be known by the room location and time they present. Each room will be named after a famous beach in Los Angeles (ie. Hermosa 1, Hermosa 2... Venice 2, Venice 3, etc.). 

2.2.1    Teams will be divided into 4 divisions of 5 teams.

2.3    Team names will be provided during the random presentation order selection on the morning of Thursday, February 20th.

2.4    Teams’ presentations should be free of any references to the team’s school, location, or other distinguishing characteristics (ie. logos, colors, etc.).

Case Preparation and Preliminary Round Presentation Rooms

3.1    The case will be distributed on Thursday, February 20th in a staggered format based on each team’s presentation time. Please refer to the schedule for distribution times and locations.

3.2    Teams will have 24 hours to prepare solutions to the case and must submit their slide decks exactly 24 hours after receipt of the case (ie. receipt of case at 10:30 AM on 2/20, submission will be at 10:30 AM on 2/21).

3.3    Each team will prepare for their presentation in breakout rooms on campus (in Fertitta Hall), as well as the teams’ respective rooms in the USC Hotel.

3.3.1   Breakout rooms in Fertitta Hall will be available from 10:00 AM to 12:00 AM on Thursday, and starting from 8:00 AM on Friday for teams who wish to practice on campus.

3.4    Teams may use textbooks, notes, etc., but may not consult or discuss the case with any outside sources. Each breakout room will include a white board.

3.5    Teams must bring their own laptops to use. Each breakout room will be equipped with a built-in desktop computer and TV monitor, but we cannot guarantee functionality of any technology or equipment.

3.5.1   Teams are encouraged to bring their own HDMI cable to connect their personal laptops to the breakout room TV monitors.

3.6    The use of Internet, file-sharing services, university password-protected databases, and shared drives is allowed. Teams will also have access to all MyMarshall databases through the Marshall library.

3.7 The case itself is not to be discussed with the faculty advisor or anyone else other than your own team members until all the Final Round presentations have concluded.

3.8 Presentations must be created using Microsoft Office PowerPoint in English (slides should use 16:9 ratio). Teams should also create a PDF version of their presentation for printing (2 slides per page).

3.9.1   All breakout rooms (see 3.3) will be equipped with PC computers that have MS Office 2016 installed. However, teams are responsible for ensuring that all materials are properly formatted and compatible with our equipment.

3.9    Teams will need to submit their presentations 2 hours prior to their Preliminary Round presentation time on a MICC-provided USB drive.

3.9.1   Naming convention for files:

Presentation: “Team Name_Presentation_Deck.pptx

PDF: “Team Name_Print_Deck.pdf

3.9.2   The presentation deck will be loaded onto the presentation room computers, and the print deck will be printed for the judges.

3.9.3   The print deck PDF will be printed in black and white with 2 slides per page.

3.10    The organizing committee reserves the right to enter a team’s breakout room or hotel room to conduct random checks during the case preparation period.


4. Competition rules & Guidelines

4.1    Throughout the entirety of the competition, participating schools will be recognized by a fictitious name based on the Preliminary Round presentation room and presentation assignment (see 2. Anonymity of Teams).

4.2    Once the case has been distributed, teams are not to communicate with advisors, ambassadors, or anyone else outside of their team about the case. All questions should be directed solely to the competition directors.

4.2.1   We suggest advisors limit their contact, even casual contact, with their team unless it is an emergency.

4.3    The Preliminary Round presentations will be made to a panel of judges on Friday, February 21st, with Challenger Round presentations on Friday evening, and Final Round presentations on Saturday, February 22nd.

4.3.1   All teams will participate in the Preliminary Round.

4.3.2    The winning team from each division will advance to the Final Round.

4.3.3    Runner-up teams from each division will compete in a Challenger Round on Friday evening, with one team being selected to compete in the Final Round.

4.3.4    Teams that advance to the Final Round will present to a different panel of judges on Saturday afternoon.

4.3.5   Teams that advance to the Challenger and Final rounds will NOT be able to make any changes to their presentations

4.4    The order in which teams will present in will be determined by a blind drawing at breakfast on Thursday morning.

4.4.1   There will also be blind drawings to determine the order of the Challenger Round presentations and Final Round presentations.

4.5    Each team member must actively participate and speak in their team’s presentation.

4.6    Teams that advance to the Final Round are not allowed to watch the other finalist teams’ presentations before they present.

4.7 A single clicker will be provided for the Preliminary, Challenger, and Final Round presentations.

4.8 Teams may use an unlimited number of slides in their presentations.

4.9 Teams must compete fairly and with integrity. Plagiarizing will result in severe consequences and all teams must submit their own original work.

4.10 The organizing committee will determine any penalties for teams that violate the competition rules or the spirit of the rules, up to and including disqualification. All decisions made by the organizing committee are final and cannot be appealed.

Preliminary Round:

5.1 Preliminary round presentations will begin at 12:30 AM, with the last team of each division presenting at 3:40 PM.

5.2 Formal business attire is required of all presenting teams.

5.3 Each team will have 5 minutes before the presentation begins to set up, followed by 15 minutes to present their case analysis and recommendations and a 15-minute question & answer period during which judges will ask questions to the presenting team. No questions will be allowed from the audience.

5.4 There will be a 10-minute break between each Preliminary Round presentation.

5.5 Teams should keep their presentations strictly within the 15-minute guideline, as teams will be cut off if they exceed the time limit.

5.6 Only judges, faculty advisors, team ambassadors, and other MICC staff will be allowed to watch the Preliminary Round presentations. No other students or visitors are permitted to attend. Attendees must leave the room during the judges’ deliberations.

5.7 There will be a time keeper in each presentation room. The time keeper will call time when the 15 minutes of the presentation and 15 minutes of the Q&A have expired. The time keeper will also alert the presenting team when there are 5 minutes and 1 minute remaining for the presentation and Q&A.

5.8 Teams that are not selected to advance to the Challenger or Final Rounds will receive written feedback from the judges in person. More information will be communicated after the Preliminary presentations.

5.9 The Preliminary Round presentations will be recorded, but not livestreamed. The presentation videos may be posted on social media after the competition.

Challenger Round:

6.1 The winning and runner-up teams of the Preliminary Round presentations will be announced once the judges have concluded their deliberations. The winning teams automatically advance to the Final Round, while runner-up teams will compete for the 5th spot in the Final Round.

6.2 The presentation order for the Challenger Round will be determined by a blind drawing.

6.3 The rules and format for the Challenger Round will be the same as for the Preliminary Round. Teams will have 15 minutes to present and a 15-minute question & answer period.

6.4 Only judges, faculty advisors, team ambassadors, and other MICC staff are allowed to watch the Challenger Round presentations. No other students or visitors are permitted to attend.

6.5 The winning team from the Challenger Round will advance to the Final Round, for a total of 5 teams in the Final Round (each winning team from the 4 Preliminary Round divisions plus the Challenger Round winner).

Final Round:

7.1 The order of presentations in the Final Round will be determined by a blind drawing after the finalists are announced Friday evening.

7.2 Once the finalist teams are announced, they must remain on the USC campus or at the hotel until the final presentations on Saturday. Dinner will be provided on campus for the finalist teams.

7.3 Final Round presentations will begin at 1:00 PM and end at 4:45 PM.

7.4 Final Round presentations will be 30 minutes long. Teams must stop their presentation when the time is up.

7.5   Judges will be allowed to interrupt the team to ask questions after the first 5 minutes of the presentation have elapsed. Judges will NOT be allowed to ask any questions during the final 2 minutes of the presentation.

7.6 There will be a time keeper for the Final Round presentations. The time keeper will call time when the 30 minutes have elapsed. The time keeper will also alert the presenting team and judges when the first 5 minutes of the presentation have elapsed and when there are 10 minutes and two minutes remaining for the presentation.

7.7 Final Round presentations will be professionally recorded and livestreamed on social media.

7.8 All teams attending the Final Round presentations must show respect and courtesy to the presenting teams. Any disruptive or distracting behavior will result in significant penalties up to and including disqualification.

7.9    The organizing committee reserves the right to penalize or disqualify teams that are found to be cheating, late in submission of their presentation, late to their presentation, or otherwise breaking the rules/guidelines listed here or the spirit of the competition rules. All decisions made by the organizing committee are final and cannot be appealed. The organizing committee may also amend the rules and guidelines any time, if necessary.

Final Presentation Room (JFF LL105)