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QUT students win global business competition in California

Friday, 9 March 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

Four business students from Queensland University of Technology have won an international case competition for a business strategy and solution aimed at major entertainment companies.


The students competed against 29 other university teams to take first place in the Marshall Business School International Case Competition at the University of Southern California.


The competition requires teams from premier business schools to solve a real problem using simulated business conditions to formulate workable, action-oriented recommendations.


The teams are mentored by academic advisors, including alumni from previous case competitions, who coach them so they can learn from their experience.


The team from QUT consisted of Ben Dunphy, Rob Foley, Erin Gregor and Luke O’Shea, all of whom are part of the QUT Business School’s 16-member case competition squad.


The latest win tops off six months in which QUT teams have taken first place in case competitions in Thailand, Singapore and Canada.


According to Gregor, the teams were given 24 hours to analyse a detailed written case study containing financial and environmental data.


They could use the internet for additional research, but could not contact anyone outside the team or access any password-protected material such as databases.


The QUT team presented a business strategy and practical solution for major entertainment companies including Warner Bros Entertainment, Sony Corporation, LG and Microsoft.


Their solution addresses issues including online piracy of film and TV content, and declining DVD sales.


It also capitalised on new systems such as cloud-based digital lockers for individual virtual libraries.


“Our solution was to create a separate online distribution model, similar to iTunes, run by the major production companies using their existing platform called Ultraviolet,” Gregor says.


“[It would] do away with staggering movie releases across countries, which leaves a window for piracy, and make the movies available online around the time they are released in cinemas.”


“Our research showed that people are prepared to pay for the far better quality they would receive on Ultraviolet.”


“It would also solve their ethical dilemma as we found that people are generally a bit uneasy about piracy.”


The QUT team competed against top universities in the US, Thailand, Denmark, Germany, Canada and New Zealand.


The students faced judges from major organisations including PricewaterhouseCoopers, Google, Warner Bros, Universal Pictures, Boeing, Ernst & Young and Marshall Business School.


According to Andrew Paltridge, international director of QUT Business School, the students who compete in case competitions gain a strong competitive edge in the business world.


“Some team members [have secured] summer internships and graduate roles with international management consultancies AT Kearney and McKinsey,” Paltridge said in a statement.