Columbia | SIPA
Consultants for a Day: Students Compete in Annual Case Competition

Students present their strategies to judges in the consulting competition. 

SIPA's fourth annual Public Policy Case Competition was hosted by the school's Consulting Club on Friday, February 17. The day-long event brought together 39 students and 10 judges from various organizations including Deloitte, The Bridgespan Group, Chemonics and the Clinton Global Initiative.

The students were divided into teams of three and had the opportunity to compete in one of three categories:

  1. International Development: Challenged to recommend a best strategy for educational programs of Developments in Literacy in Pakistan.
  2. Social Innovation: Challenged to present a sustainable business model for maternal care in Tanzania for the Zanzibar Neema Hospital, under a project of Deloitte Consulting LLP and the Tanzanian Ministry of Health.
  3. U.S. Public Policy: Challenged to develop a plan to strategically allocate funding for a high speed rail program under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

"This is a safe space for us to play - a learning environment," said Susmita De (MDP ‘12), co-president of the SIPA Consulting Club, "And we’re grateful to have the judges give their professional feedback."

Student teams were challenged to come up with strategies and recommendations for the case assigned to them, in just five hours, with no prior knowledge of the case. At the end of the day, one team was declared the winner for each case, and one individual was named the MVP of each category. 

"I’m interested in consulting, and I had not done it before, so I wanted to get a feel of it," said Khulan Davaadorg (MPA ‘12), a member of the winning team in the international development category. 

"It was a really good experience. The case was pretty hands-on. It was a challenge that we really have nowadays."

Members of the International Development winning team Jesse Baver (MIA ‘13), Khulan Davvadorj (MPA ‘12), and Rajitha Swaminathan (MIA ‘13), with their judges from Developments in Literacy, Chemonics, DAI and the Clinton Global Initiative. 

Nicholas Arguello (MPA ‘12), Ania Calderon (MPA ‘13), and Natalie Tang (MPA ‘12), the winning team in the Social Innovation category, present their strategy for a mobile prenatal health clinic in Tanzania. 

Quekan Anike Ibidunni (MPA/MPH ‘12), co-president of the SIPA Consulting Club, presents the MVP award of the Social Innovation category to Angie Palacios (MPA ‘12). 

Adam Yukelson (MS ‘12 in sustainability management), who was competing in the Social Innovation category, added about the competition:

"This is a more effective way of learning than hearing about management in a lecture. It’s experiential learning. 

The event was not only seen as a learning experience, according to De, but also as a chance for students to shine through a competition and a networking opportunity as well. 

The competition was sponsored by Deloitte, Chemonics, SIPA’s Management Specialization and the Office of Career Services.

Michelle Chahine

Photo credit: Miji Park (MPA-DP ‘12) 

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