When I was applying to business school one of the most frequently referenced phenomena were “overnight case competitions”. Essentially students form groups of 4-5, receive a case at 7pm, work the case through the night, and then present a perfectly coherent presentation in front of faculty, recruiters, and other people who ask searing questions. All of this is done on little to no sleep, and is completely voluntary. This year 98 first years formed 24 teams and chose to sacrifice a night of sleep in an attempt to win the Global Challenge. I think this high level of participation says something about the class of 2011… I’ll let you determine what that something may be.
While I cannot speak to how each team managed their evening, I can tell you how my team, the Trade Winds, survived the night and the presentation the following morning.
I feel that it is important to acknowledge that no one on my 4 person team drank a single cup of coffee from 7pm Thursday night to 4pm Friday afternoon. I knew going into the event that Jaryn and I were not coffee drinkers, but I still find it astounding that none of us caved in, particularly once we rounded the 4am mark. Since my team was operating in a caffeine-free environment, we had to come up with creative ways to keep our energy levels up throughout the night. This led to ten minute spurts of group yoga (it seemed like a solid idea circa 3am) and constant eating. In one night my team put away two 24 inch pizzas from East Side Pies, some garlic knots, bags of grapes, trail mix, sour patch kids, and enough bite-sized chocolate candy to make most people sick. Looking back I can say with certainty that this was a terrible idea, but it worked.
The final countdown to our presentation was pretty nerve wracking. We’d been up for 27 hours straight. We were tired and giggly, and I had enough nervous energy to power the entire AT&T Conference Center. It was not a pretty sight. Eric and I determined our group was in need of a last minute spontaneous dance party use up some of our excess adrenaline. Pete pulled up “Lisztomania” on his iPhone and the three of us danced in the hallway outside of the presentation room for a solid five minutes. It was the perfect culmination of ridiculousness to round out our night of number crunching, power point making, yoga, gluttony, and general absurdity.
I slept for 13 hours Friday night, yet still found myself in a Global Challenge fog days later. Despite the sleep deprivation I can say the challenge was well worth it. It was a fantastic way to get to know some of my classmates better and learn more about the intricacies and politics behind international business decisions.