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Frito Lay/PepsiCo Case Competition

Fifteen bags full of hundreds of dollars worth of food from Frito Lay sat in front of us. As the teams were displayed on the screen in front of us the race was on. Each team had roughly an hour and a half to come up with an answer to a very vague question, and then present in front of a group of judges. Sound exciting? Stressful? Well, it’s both. And totally worth it.

Working with a team under a deadline and then presenting together your findings is a common task an employee in business will have to do all the time. Why not start practicing now? That’s what makes these competitions worth it, that and the chance of winning, of course.

Frito Lay presented us with the problem of the company losing market share in the premium tortilla chip market. They were losing to more expensive and “generic” brands that bragged organic and non-GMO chips. Frito Lay has attempted the same efforts of marketing with no avail. So what should they do to get a one up on companies that are smaller and more agile?

What do you think?

Teams came up with ideas varying from stickers on the floor of stores to hosting a 5k/10k race positioning the Frito Lay brand as healthy option in consumers minds. The presentations were professional and short. With just seven minutes to present their ideas, groups had to compress their thoughts and ideas to be concise. The board followed up with questions like, “How long will the stickers last on the floor?” or “Can the company afford to host a race on their own without sponsors?” The board expected each idea to be well thought out and for the group to have answers to their sometimes-unprecedented questions.

In the end, four groups went on to the final round where the top three teams were picked as the winners. Each member of the three winning groups walked away with a basket of snacks to last them until they graduate (that may be a slight exaggeration).

Whether a team placed or not mattered very little because everyone walked away with an increased network and with newly acquired skills. If you’re wondering whether or not you want to do a case competition, the answer is yes, you do. It’s not only a great thing to prove diversity on your resume, but also allows you to meet others that may get you your future job.

Get out of your comfort zone, and go compete. As cheesy as it sounds, in the end, everyone is a winner (except those that stay home).

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