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2014 Professional Responsibility Strategy Competition

[jump to: Apply Now | Key Dates | Competition Format | Case Competitions | Co-Sponsors | Contact]

Experience a different take on case competitions!

The 2014 Professional Responsibility Strategy Competition will offer Illinois students the chance to address real-world business problems while specifically focusing on ethical and professional responsibility issues. This exciting third annual event is sponsored by the University of Illinois and supported by BP. Nine interdisciplinary teams comprised of students from business, engineering, law and related disciplines will have the unique opportunity to observe the BP trading floor and oil refinery, as well as meet and hear presentations from BP managers.

New this year! The Third Professional Responsibility Strategy Competition will be held concurrently with the University of Notre Dame. The top two teams from the University of Illinois and University of Notre Dame campuses will compete in a playoff round in downtown Chicago on Friday, February 21.


Apply Now

Applications are due by midnight on Friday, December 20, 2013. Please apply online at this link:


Key Dates

Midnight, Friday, December 20
Applications Due:

Wednesday, January 15
Teams will be Announced

Friday, January 24
Competition Kickoff and Workshop (attendance is required)
8:30-11:30 a.m., Location TBA

Friday & Saturday, January 31 & February 1
Trip and Tour (attendance is required)
Transportation, meals and overnight lodging will be provided
Friday, Leave campus at 6:30 a.m. for Field Trip to BP’s Chicago headquarters
Saturday, Leave at 8:00 a.m. for Oil Refinery Tour in Whiting, Indiana

Tuesday, February 11
Competition Day (attendance is required)
Participants need to be available from noon through 9:00 p.m. All activities will take place in the Business Instructional Facility on the UIUC campus.

Friday, February 21
Playoff Round in Chicago
The top two teams from the University of Illinois and University of Notre Dame campuses will compete in a playoff round in downtown Chicago. Details to come.


Competition Format

Team Composition

Each team will comprise of four full-time UIUC students for a maximum of nine groups.

Since an intended goal of this competition is to have participants work on an interdisciplinary team, we would ideally prefer to have one student from Law, one from Engineering, and two from different areas of Business. At the same time, however, we realize that some flexibility in team organization may be necessary to best accommodate the skill sets and academic backgrounds represented by those who apply to participate in this competition.

Competition Day

This competition is designed to challenge students to consider how ethical and professional responsibility issues are influenced by stakeholder perspectives. Therefore, teams will prepare three presentations with each focusing on the interests of a specific stakeholder group (details will be provided when the case is distributed). While each of the presentations should be distinct, some foundational information will naturally be repeated in all of them.

Each presentation will be no longer than 30 minutes, including time for judges’ questions. During the Preliminary Round, teams will deliver their first and second presentations. Teams must be prepared to respond to the third case problem if they advance to the Final Round.

Preliminary Round

Teams will be divided into three rooms (three teams each room) where they will deliver their first and second presentations. The team in each room, who overall has delivered the best two presentations, will advance to the Final Round.

Final Round

Three teams (one from each Preliminary Round presentation room) will present on the third situation proposed in the case. First, second and third place team winners will be selected.

Judges in the Preliminary and Final Rounds will comprise of industry and faculty experts who will be familiar with the issues presented in the case.


Case Competitions

Case Competition Overview

The use of case competitions in business programs at American colleges and universities is a long-held and highly regarded tradition. While each competition has its own goals and format, they all provide students an opportunity to explore business problems in new and challenging ways. At the same time, these exercises offer all the rewards and challenges of working in a team to accomplish a common goal.

The advantages of using a “live case” are many. Students have the opportunity to confront a real and current business problem. They are often able to work directly with a company and its representatives to gain knowledge about the organization, its mission, vision for the future, and the functional areas of its business – operations, finance, marketing, for example. In turn, companies receive fresh ideas for how to address a particular business issue from a group of students who bring new perspectives and insights to the situation.

 Competitions help further develop students’ abilities in these proficiency areas:

  • Analyze business problems from multiple perspectives
  • Understand the interplay of the functional areas of business
  • Form convincing business decisions with incomplete information
  • Work productively in a team situation that closely mimics real-life business
  • Address competing points of view
  • Confront ethical considerations
  • Apply principles of professional responsibility to business dilemmas

It is these last two points – the ability to confront ethical business situations and to demonstrate professional responsibility in decision-making – that will serve as the foundation for the 2014 Professional Responsibility Strategy Competition.

Developed in partnership with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Business and BP, the competition case will have numerous ethical components. The proposed professional responsibility problems/dilemmas can potentially span any or all of the functional areas of business – e.g., marketing, finance and logistics. Given the complexities of the oil industry, teams will comprise of individuals from the areas of law and engineering in addition to business.



This event is being held in partnership with:


For any questions about the 2014 Professional Responsibility Strategy Competition, please contact Professor Kathryn Rybka at


UIUC College of Business