The Case of Team Underdog

A team of four undergraduate students—Ryan Chen, William Howoong Chun, Larry Fan (all Wharton seniors) and Shilpa Kannan (a senior in the Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology)—took on the world and won. Along with faculty representative, Marketing Professor Keith Niedermeier, they bested 18 university teams representing five continents at the Citi International Case Competition held in Hong Kong in November. The two-day case competition challenged student teams to propose the best growth strategies for an emerging luxury hotel firm, the Langham Hospitality Group.

The Wharton team was an underdog from the start, according to Fan.

“We came into the final round in the last finalist position, having only secured the spot by winning a knock-out round that other finalists did not have to do,” Fan explains. “While it was tough on the team to do another round of presentation through the knock-out stage, the extra experience also helped strengthen our team in the final round.”

Though competitive, the event was collegial and allowed the Wharton team members to not only immerse themselves in the culture of Hong Kong but also learn from the other teams as well.