In Febraury of this year, a team of Camrbridge MBAs, Gabriel Thia (Singapore), Hannah Kanamori (Japan), Xin Qi (China) and Yiwei Li (China) and Takehiro Aoki (Japan) were awarded the first place at the Yale Healthcare Case Competition (YHCC).

The YHCC is an annual international case competition organised by the Yale School of Management, with a focus on challenging problems in the healthcare and biotechnology industry. This year, around 20 teams from top universities including Columbia University, Northwestern University and Yale University gathered in New Haven and competed.

Teams were provided with the business case and given one week to prepare their response. This year’s case challenged contestants to develop a market entry strategy for a start-up’s healthcare wearable device, supported by financial and risk models. During this one-week period, our team made use of concepts and models that we learnt during our MBA course, integrating them into a final recommendation.

The final round of the case competition was held on 24 February, at Yale School of Management. In a knock-out tournament fashion, the teams were divided into equal groups, whereby each group would be evaluated by a panel of judges from academia and industry. The winning teams of each group proceeded to compete against each other in the final showdown.

Our team decided that we had be innovative and bold in our recommendation and substantiate this with detailed quantitative models. Our solution for the case targeted patients in the pre-diabetes phase and combined genetic profiling and machine learning to address current medical needs. We proposed a freemium business model to generate traction fast, with profitability and risk evaluated with financial and Monte Carlo models. This and our pitch, were well-received by the panel of judges, winning our team the top prize.

Here is what the team had to say about their experience!

Takehiro Aoki
“It was the team work that brought this prestigious award. Our team was particularly multidisciplinary with members from research, human resource, supply chain, finance and strategy. We had continuously refined our idea through intensive discussion from various aspects. Without this team, we could not reach that novelty, depth and robustness.”

Gabriel Thia
“We had a versatile team that worked remarkably together, and that contributed to our success in the case competition. The ideas presented by the other teams were outstanding, but we were well-prepared and confident in our pitch. We were able to implement concepts learnt during the MBA in a practical manner; this was the biggest reward in our competition experience.”

Hannah Kanamori
“Our team was truly diverse, both in terms of background and personality, which helped us create and refine ideas from various angles toward the proposal. In addition, given the fact that we are in a one-year program, our schedule was quite hectic to manage under such a tight deadline, but that kept our meetings to be extremely productive and efficient. We genuinely enjoyed participating in the competition, applying concepts we have learnt on the MBA to tackle real-world business problems.”

Yiwei Li
“It is an amazing experience since we are a cross functional team, and it was a great opportunity to practice what we had learnt in the MBA classroom”

Xin Qi
“It is an unexpectedly rewarding experience. 2018 was the first time YHCC have accepted a European team to compete.  After rounds of challenging our own business model and improving it, we finally reached an innovative idea that employed both progressive thinking and feasibility evidence. Looking back, the YHCC championship was one of the best opportunities to practise what we learned. Without the knowledge we had garnered in the first two terms on the MBA, we wouldn’t have stood an equal chance of winning the case.”

A blog by Takehiro Aoki, Ph.D on behalf of Team “JudgeMe”