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Miele-Smith case competition offers students unique opportunity

Posted on May 6, 2021

Kingston, Ont. – Smith School of Business students from across all programs were invited to compete in the inaugural Miele-Smith virtual case competition this spring. Over 150 Smith students signed up to develop innovative ideas to a challenge presented by the appliance manufacturing company.

The case competition launched in March, and six finalist teams are set to make their concluding presentations next week. The multi-week format lets students dive into the data, do their own market research and build strong recommendations, supported with real-world inputs. Throughout the competition, students had the opportunity to be coached by and connect with Miele leaders, Smith faculty and alumni, as well as fellow students.

“The value we've received from the Miele-Smith case competition has been twofold in the development and application of skills and deepening relationships. It has been a great opportunity for us to work with others in our programs—people we don’t get to work with on a day-to-day basis. It’s given us the chance to network and build deeper relationships with our colleagues and peers,” said finalist Kameko Higa, EMBA’22.

Miele elected to work with Smith in North America due to the school’s leadership in analytics. “In order to continuously improve our market position in the U.S. we place a large emphasis on data-driven decision-making. During this case competition, the students have been able to demonstrate how to combine creativity with deep analysis in order to derive sound strategic recommendations. It has been an equal pleasure working with such talented students and supporting faculty alike. We look forward to the finals of the case competition and wish all students the best of luck!” said Marco Distler, Vice-President, Strategy & Business Development at Miele Inc.

The six finalist teams represent five Smith graduate programs: Accelerated MBA, Executive MBA, Executive MBA Americas, Master of Management Analytics and Master of Management Innovation & Entrepreneurship. First, second and third place teams will be selected by a group of senior executives from Miele, who will assess the students’ final presentations. The winners will be receiving cash prizes and networking opportunities with senior Miele executives.

Who is Miele?

Two families have shaped the company for more than 120 years: the Miele and Zinkann families. In 1899, with four lathes and one drilling machine, the engineer Carl Miele and the businessman Reinhard Zinkann founded a company that manufactured cream separators in Herzebrock. Their guiding principle lives on to be the business philosophy to this day: Immer Besser (Forever Better). Since then, Miele has evolved to become the largest privately held and operated manufacturer of premium domestic appliances world-wide with an annual, global turnover of over 4.5 billion Euros.