The Charger Blog

Cross-Disciplinary Case Competition Presents a Sneak Peek into Resolving Real-World Problems

The recent competition was an exciting opportunity for graduate students to build their creativity and teamwork skills while building their confidence and gaining important experience.

November 14, 2023

By Anchal Bhatia’24 MBA

The Case Busters team at the competition.
The Case Busters team at the competition.

Halle Cook ’24, M.A. and her teammates displayed intense energy and enthusiasm to achieve the title of winners at the 7th Cross-Disciplinary Case Competition held recently at the University’s Orange Campus. Cook’s team, Case Busters, comprising four members, delivered strong leadership and team building skills, which helped them create professional and personal bonds between each other.

According to Cook, a candidate in the University’s graduate program in industrial/organizational psychology, this experience was like “breaking out of one’s comfort zone.” One of the highlights, says Cook, was that she learned a lot about AI advancements from one of her teammates.

The Cross-Disciplinary Case Competition is an annual four-week long competition organized by the Office of Graduate and International Student Life (OGISL) that allows graduate students to work in cross-disciplinary teams to analyze and build solutions to real-time industrial cases and present recommendations to a panel of judges explaining how they address the problems and challenges outlined in the cases.

Mo Cayer, Ph.D., distinguished lecturer and coordinator of the M.S. Human Resources program, and Owen Quantick, assistant director of OGISL, welcomed the four final teams and a panel of five judges at the competition.

After thoroughly practicing for four weeks, the Case Busters team presented their case in front of the judges. Cook says the experience was challenging.

“I had the opportunity to collaborate with the students from different backgrounds and disciplines,” she said. “This experience made me a better team player and taught me how my area of study impacts other areas.”

Members of DivergeX with Dr. Mo Cayer (left) at the competition.
Members of DivergeX with Dr. Mo Cayer (left) at the competition.
‘It was all worth it’

The case competition included five teams of graduate students studying in varying academic colleges and schools and majors at the University. Every team was dedicated to displaying their creative ideas and solutions with a similar motive of bringing change. On the final day of the competition, four teams were selected to present their solutions in front of a panel of five judges from different backgrounds and areas.

Dr. Nancy Savage, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, served as the keynote speaker at the final event. Dr. Savage congratulated the participants and the final teams for their dedication and consistency for this competition ever since day one. She also encouraged students to keep participating in events like these as they bring forth a sense of responsibility and ignite skill development. In her keynote address, she also talked about her time at the University of New Haven and her professional and academic experiences.

Dr. Tejita Yenupuri, ’25 MHA was a member of DivergeX, which secured third place in the case competition. According to her, this competition helped her efficiently develop interpersonal skills and provided her with new skills and knowledge about working as part of a team.

According to Dr. Yenupuri, her biggest takeaway was that, “We don’t always have to work on our strongest skills,” she said. “We need to work on where we are lacking. As a dentist, my strong approach is healthcare, but after participating in this competition, I have learned that several other areas require equal attention, newer perspectives, and diverging challenges.”

Dr. Yenupuri was quite satisfied with her time throughout the competition and hopes to participate again next year. Her experience working in the real world and resolving problems for an actual client was the highlight of this competition.

Sakshi Goenka, ’25, M.A., who was also a part of DivergeX, said her team members helped her understand the skills and practices needed to excel in the business world.

She says the competition was a great learning experience, and she recommends it to everyone looking to get a peek into resolving real-world problems while working in cross-functional teams.

“It was a great platform to hone collaborative and critical thinking skills,” said Goenka, a candidate in the University’s graduate program in industrial/organizational psychology. “The past few weeks of building the case and presenting it were not an easy run. It took us some time to get there, but, in the end, it was all worth it.”