Case Competition I – the brilliant solution!

17 interns and students from every Nordic country lined up to compete in the Nordea Markets Case Competition - see what happened, meet the winners!

Every year, Nordea Markets offers the opportunity for summer interns and students to participate in a case competition with peers across boarders in the Nordics. This year 17 took part in the competition.

We have talked with Thea Stensaker (picture), who is in charge of the case competition, about the event, the benefits for students and for the organisation: “The case competition is a great way for students to learn something new, understand more areas of the organisation and meet people across borders. The best candidates even get the chance to present their solutions for senior management. For the business, this is an opportunity to get new ideas and valuable thoughts on the table,” says Thea.

Next, you will get a feeling of how the case competition turned out as we hand over pen and paper to of one of the winning participants.

“You will receive the case Sunday morning and have a week to complete the case” was the message landing in all 17 participants’ mailbox just before the Nordea Markets Case Competition (NMCC) 2018 took off. The message continued “We will have Skype calls where you will present your solutions as a team – Good luck!”.

By Karl Sundblad, Assistent Analyst in Nordea Debt & Risk Solutions.

Having read and signed up for the NMCC, I considered it to be a great opportunity to gain case experience and put my collaboration and analytical skills to the test. With all the interns in our group having distinct academic and professional experiences, I expected to learn a lot and gain new insights by working on the case throughout the week, and that I certainly did! Being awarded with the winning trophy of the NMCC, and with that got the opportunity to travel to Copenhagen to present our solution to selected management, further enhanced this experience.

The winning team – seeing each other for the first time face-to-face in Copenhagen. From left: Martin Aasheim, Veera Valkeinen, Karl Sundblad and Ebbe Jerre.

Working cross desks and boarders

For me personally, this was the first time participating in cross-border collaboration with colleges from respective national headquarters – and then even through Skype. I was excited to get the case-work going but simultaneously somewhat worried about the scheduling as I know all participants in NMCC were completing various internships with intense and long days.

However, we quickly agreed upon and established a structured approach which ensured that the work proceeded smoothly.

Our brilliant solution (in short)

In short, the essence of the case was to identify one or a few financial risks that a given large Danish retail company had significant exposure to. From there, we would perform an analysis trying to quantify and map the particular exposure and proceed to develop a set of recommendations by which the company in question could handle each specific risk.

I believe that our solution was appreciated as we limited the analysis to two specific financial risks; interest rate risk and foreign exchange risk. The analysis performed could, to a decent extent,, be performed on publicly available information and we focused on making our line of reasoning and presented recommendations intuitive and easy to follow. Further, we chose to focus on areas of exposure in which a potential solution would lie within the product and service offering of Nordea to enable a prospect business opportunity.

Challenges and learnings

Team presentation through Skype for the first time.

In my opinion, one of the most challenging parts of the case was to gain a thorough understanding of the firm’s business model. In particular, forming an understanding of the dynamics between its operational challenges and the degree of urgency and priority to handle the financial risks, which we were targeting (the company’s stock had experienced a double digit drop on the morning of our presentation).

Also, within the case we were asked to present our solution in a rather limited number of slides. This restriction led us to focus on two different financial risks, but yet had to do so in a quite brief manner. If I was given a chance to re-do the case, I would limit the focus of the analysis further and attempt to form a deeper understanding of the firm’s business model in order to be able to develop a more suitable and customized solution.

New skills and friendships

A key take-away from the NMCC experience will be the ability to collaborate efficiently on a pan-Nordic level and to appear together before an audience and come across as a unified business-unit. This has surely added value to my competences.

I will remember the joy of the challenge and primarily the thrill of getting to know my fellow interns and team mates; Ebba, Martin and Veera. Thank you all!

Do you want to read about the winning team’s trip to Copenhagen where they presented their solution for Nordea Markets senior management? The story is already on the blog: Case Competition II – Nerve-racking and amazing.

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