Sunday, April 24, 2011

MIS team gives Berkeley, UCLA a run at Cisco

Ok, this is so utterly cool - it's a pic I took at Cisco (Building 29) last Friday, showing our MIS student team competing in the annual Cisco/Deloitte Case Competition. That's them (James Morrissey, Damaris Sarenbergand David Nettemeyer) on the left and middle screen segments of the telepresence display, presenting to the judges (Cisco execs and Deloitte consultants). (On the far right panel you see one of the Berkeley team students and the Cisco staffer running the telepresence system.)

This was the first year they used the telepresence system - it enabled a team from UCLA to compete, from a telepresence system on their campus down there. The Berkeley and SJSU teams were actually in the same building with us, but had to present through the system to keep the playing field even for all teams. The room was filled with SJSU students rooting for our team, plus Professor Larry Gee who had been working closely to help coach our students, analyzing the Cisco business case and preparing the presentation. Another faculty coach, Professor Gaines, was plugged in via Webex.

Our team was awesome! They were poised and professional and they presented the most substantive, realistic recommendations among the teams, something we've come to be known for over the 5 years we've been participating. The judges noted this in their summary, and also said we had the best-prepared slides and many other qualities that rivaled or bested the other two prestigious schools. But in the end we were barely edged out by the Berkeley team due to a super-slick style, a clever catch-phrase and a lucky break - a slide that perfectly anticipated one of the judges questions. Nevertheless, our team blew us all away and we are immensely proud. They should be proud of themselves too and they got a phenomenal experience, not only making the presentation but also getting feedback and advice, something one almost never gets when making pitches like this in the real world.

Thanks to all the other students who supported the team and the faculty who poured their time and energy into coaching: Professors Gee, Burkhard, Sessions, Roldan, Gaines, and Venkatsubramanyan, all above and beyond the duties we pay them for, purely out of their dedication to the students and the program. And big thanks to our Cisco friend and adjunct faculty, Usha Andra for the massive job of coordinating and orchestrating the entire show, from the telepresence set up down to the cookies and fruit.

Well done, everyone. Another unforgettable event.

1 comment:

  1. I was also at the event, it was nice meeting you as well. I took notes of all the judges comments because I thought they were so valuable and rare. So here's my key take aways.

    1. All judges commented on the need for clean, clear slides. One judge said "don't let the slides do the talking." Another judge said "don't make people think to much."

    Another judge said to always ask yourself "so what" for each slide, what are the take aways from each slide, and if it doesn't help you get to that then it should be removed. The message "should hit [the viewer] over the head."

    2. Less data. A judge mentioned "less data is less landmines" because each number is a possible argument, even if the number may not matter for the presentation as a whole.

    3. No hopefully or other similar words. Either you know it for sure or you don't. If you don't know it say so and offer to get find it out. Be confident in your ideas.

    4. Finally was the idea of "sound bites" which is thinking of quotable phrases that stick in the mind to help make your presentation and idea stick well.

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