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Aalto IEM masters student team win third place in the prestigious ESTIEM TIMES case competition

The Tournament in Management and Engineering Skills case competition gathered over 350 teams from 70 European Universities

The Industrial and Engineering Management (IEM) master students Pasi Lohi, Markus Junkkari, Marko Sommarberg and Reetta Repo are the happy receivers of the third place in TIMES case competition 2016.

After a three-year break an Aalto IEM student team is back in the top three in the annual prestigious ESTIEM TIMES case competition. The final was held 3.-8.4. at Ilmenau University of Technology in Germany.

TIMES, short for Tournament in Management and Engineering Skills, is the annual business case solving competition organised by the European IEM student organisation ESTIEM. From over 70 participating universities in Europe and with over 350 teams, the top eight compete in the final for the title of “IEM Students of the Year”. In TIMES, teams solve business cases in 3-4 hours, after which a 15-20-minute presentation is held to a jury consisting of academics and industry experts.
 

The team composed of four Aalto IEM Master students, Markus Junkkari, Pasi Lohi, Reetta Repo and Marko Sommarberg, first won the local qualification organised at Aalto in November 2015. In January they won the Karlsruhe semi-final with a clear margin to the second team.

The team had reached their first target: get Helsinki back to the finals!In the final the competition gets highly intense. During the final week there are three case days, and margins between teams are extremely small. There’s no room for a single mistake and the Aalto IEM team was there to win. Spirits were up, the process planned and optimised. This was the performance the team had patiently been practicing for all spring.
 

“Such dedication and thirst to win the competition as this team jointly enacted was really something special” tells Robin Gustafsson, Assistant Professor in Strategic Management at Aalto University. He continues “We organized with the Industrial Engineering and Management Department faculty several training session during winter and spring where the students practiced  case solving, got feedback, and even got coaching in presentations from experts. But we were not the only one to coach them. they had trainings sessions at several companies and consultant firms. They were really gearing up for the finale!”.   
 

The team right before the first case.

After the first case presentation the flow was good. However, the jury’s verdict left the team rather confused: the case appeared not to have gone that well after all. Case by case the team improved their performance, winning the last case day on Thursday.

 Marko, Markus, Reetta and Pasi presenting their first case.

The week culminated in a gala dinner with an award ceremony on the final night. After a festive dinner and a couple of not-too-long speeches the winners were announced. The words “On the third place, Helsinki!” were both relieving and disappointing at the same time. Linköpings University were the big winners of the year, and second place was awarded to Chalmers University of Technology. All in all, four out of eight finalists came from Nordic Countries.
 

Looking back at the assessment of the first cases, the third place was a great achievement accomplished through true hard work and focus to forget the previous feedbacks. Now after bringing Aalto IEM back to the big league, the team members together with faculty want to coach younger generation teams. This was the best that could be achieved today, and if the knowledge, determination and network is passed on, Aalto IEM student teams has a perfect chance to stay at the top.

Markus, Pasi, Reetta and Marko address a huge recognition to all the fans, companies and the department for the support that made this bronze medal possible. If you want to keep track on the future achievements of Aalto IEMs TIMES teams, like them on Facebook!

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