Representing Frankfurt School at the IE BBA Case Competition in Madrid
Awards / 29 April 2024
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Bachelor of Science in Management, Philosophy & Economics Class of 2027
Martha Zoller is currently studying at Frankfurt School and working as a student consultant.

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In February, our team, comprising Cloe de Leo, Tomislav Aleksic, Vato Vepkhvadze and Martha Zoller, had the opportunity to represent Frankfurt School at the IE Business School 2024 Case Competition in Madrid. The competition was challenging yet enlightening, pitting us against eight other globally renowned universities over one intense week.

Madrid: A City of History, Culture, and Innovation

Upon arrival, we were greeted with the saying, “Madrid does not live in the shadow of any city”. It was the first time many of us had been to the Spanish capital, and it did not disappoint. Madrid enchanted us with its vibrant culture, historic sites, and an endless supply of tapas. Our exploration was not limited to Madrid; we also ventured to Segovia, where history stands tall in the form of its ancient Roman aqueduct. The campus locations of IE University – one standing among the four famous skyscrapers of Madrid – and the other one inside an old, fascinating building in Segovia- gave us a fantastic feeling of studying in the Spanish capital for a week.

The First Challenge: SUSHITA

The competition was structured around two prominent cases. The first challenge was presented by SUSHITA, which focused on expanding its market reach while maintaining the essence of its brand. Not only did our team have to provide a strategy for the years to come, but we also had the task of analysing the past of this exciting company and how it achieved growth back in 2014. Our approach blended traditional values with innovative market strategies, earning us valuable feedback from industry experts. We had time to work on this case while still in Frankfurt.

Finally, on the first day of the competition in Madrid, we had the opportunity to present our solution to the SUSHITA case. Our efforts brought us straight to the finals, and we conquered the third place, which we celebrated together with the other teams and the competition organisers.


On our second day in the Spanish capital, we enjoyed an entire day of team-building activities, which surprised us with a different format and enjoyable tasks. We were not supposed to only bond with our teammates and we were given the opportunity to get to know students from other participating universities better. This created a unique environment where teams stopped thinking about competing against each other and started observing and appreciating others’ knowledge, strengths and experience.

The 24-hour Challenge: Radisson Hotel Group

The real test finally came on the third day in Madrid. The second case was a relentless 24-hour challenge created by the Radisson Hotel Group. The nine teams were tasked to seek an innovative solution to increase the hotel giant’s profitability by enhancing guests’ experiences while addressing the post-pandemic market shifts. This case allowed us to dive into the hospitality sector, enlarging our interest in the business world and its many factors. The intensity of working through the night, fueled by caffeine and teamwork, tested our endurance and commitment and created a special bond between us.

Key Learnings from the Business Challenges

The week was a whirlwind of learning, from strategic analysis to the importance of teamwork. Here are our key takeaways:

  1. Team Dynamics: The importance of a cohesive team cannot be overstated. Our success was a direct result of our collaborative efforts, where each member’s strength was utilised to the fullest. Thankfully, our team matched not only on a professional but also on a personal level.
  2. Preparation and Practice: Familiarising ourselves with case studies before the competition proved valuable. It helped us structure our responses and ensure our solutions were innovative and feasible.
  3. Analytical Approach: Adopting a structured approach helped us navigate complex problems effectively. It’s crucial to remain focused and prioritize the core issues at hand.
  4. Embracing Culture: Understanding the local culture and market nuances significantly influenced our strategic recommendations, especially in the case presented by SUSHITA.

The Culinary and Social Saga

Beyond the case studies, the week was filled with networking events, cultural excursions, and Spanish cuisine. The tapas nights were culinary delights and excellent networking opportunities. Each meal was a chance to connect with fellow participants from around the globe, sharing insights and forging friendships.

The week was characterised by acute sleep deprivation, a testament to the intensity of the competition. Yet, these moments of sheer exhaustion mixed with unwavering determination will be remembered most fondly.

Gratitude and Reflection

Representing our school on such a prestigious international platform was an honour. We are immensely grateful for the sponsorship and support provided by our institution, which made this unforgettable experience possible.

To anyone contemplating participating in future case competitions, we wholeheartedly recommend it. Not only does it enhance your problem-solving skills, but it also provides a unique opportunity to understand diverse business landscapes and meet inspiring individuals.

In conclusion, the IE Business School 2024 Case Competition was more than just a contest; it was a week of intense learning, unforgettable experiences, and cultural immersion. With its rich history and vibrant nightlife, coupled with the challenging cases, Madrid provided the perfect backdrop for an enriching experience.


Cloe De Leo


Cloe de Leo
Bachelor of Science in Management, Philosophy & Economics Class of 2025


Cloe De Leo is currently studying at Frankfurt School while employed as a Junior Innovation Consultant and is working towards a position in social impact consulting.