Case Competition Rules & Regulations

2017 SHRM Student Case Competition and Career Summit

Case Competition Rules & Regulations 

The Case Competition is made up of two phases: the pre-event virtual preparation, followed by the onsite oral presentation at the 2017 SHRM Student Case Competition and Career Summit. As part of the competition’s virtual preparation, teams will analyze a business case study and offer a solution, preparing and submitting both a written executive summary and PowerPoint slides for the oral presentation to be given on the day of the competition. Preliminary and final oral presentation rounds will be held onsite. Teams will compete by delivering an oral presentation to a panel of judges. Prizes will be awarded to the top teams in Division I and Division II at each of the three competitions held across the U.S.

All materials will be sent to and must be received by the team captain only, including the Case Competition Integrity Statement. The Integrity Statement must be electronically agreed to before the case will be provided to the team captain. Details regarding receipt of the case study and submission of the team’s written executive summary and PowerPoint slides can be found under Team Captain Requirements and Responsibilities. Details about the formats of the submissions can be found below.

Virtual Preparation

Twenty-one days prior to the start of each Case Competition event, team captains will be sent via email the 2017 case study, along with a series of questions and other supporting documents, and asked to have their teams analyze the case study and come up with a solution. Teams will have five full days (including one full weekend) to prepare their written executive summary and PowerPoint slides to be used for the onsite oral presentation. Documents will be sent on a Friday at noon ET (21 days prior to on-site event) and are due back the following Wednesday by noon ET. Please note time zone differences. For more information, visit here.

Written Executive Summary/PowerPoint Slide Formats

Written Executive Summary Format
The written executive summary should highlight the key points of the team’s solution for the case study in a two-page narrative format. All summaries will be judged and scored in advance of the onsite event by a panel of judges.

  • The written executive summary should not exceed two pages.
  • The summary must use Times New Roman 12-point font and must be single-spaced.
  • The summary must be saved in Microsoft Word 2013/XP format.
  • Although teams must not note the name of their college/university, they may include the names of the team members. 

Helpful Hint:
Before the competition, research what is included in an executive summary. For example, do not include sources in the executive summary. An executive summary is not an outline of the PowerPoint presentation.

PowerPoint Slide Format
The team will use the PowerPoint slides to give its oral presentation on the day of the competition. The presentation may not be longer than 15 minutes. A panel of judges then will ask questions they deem appropriate and judge the presentation. Fifteen additional minutes will be allotted for Q&A.

  • The presentation must be submitted on the PowerPoint template supplied.
  • There is no minimum or maximum number of slides required, but the presentation should be created with the time limit in mind. When preparing the presentation, teams should take care to ensure that their solution is clear and concise.
  • Although teams must not note the name of their college/university, they may include the names of the team members.
  • Sound effects and video clips are not allowed in the presentation. Teams will not have access to Wi-Fi (e.g., for accessing YouTube videos) during their presentation.
  • Graphics are allowed in the presentation.
  • The presentation must be saved in Microsoft PowerPoint 2013/XP format. Presentations will be viewed on computers with Microsoft Office.

What to Expect Onsite

Onsite Oral Presentation Rules

  • Although not every team member must speak during the presentation, each must be present at the front of the room and be available to answer questions.
  • Presenters may use notecards during the presentation.
  • Teams are permitted to bring copies of their slide deck to present to the judges, but this is not required.
  • Props or displays are not allowed.

Referencing Your Team Onsite

  • To ensure no bias, perceived or real, teams are assigned a number and must refrain from referencing their college/university during the competition. This includes not wearing items with a university logo at any time during the event, including during onsite registration.
  • Teams may share the names of their members with the judges during the oral presentation and include the names on the slide deck.

Onsite Oral Presentation Time Limit/Q&A
The time limit for the onsite oral presentation is 15 minutes.

  • Judges will have an additional 15 minutes for Q&A.
  • Time limits will be enforced.

Presentation Room Set-Up (provided by SHRM)

  • A panel of two to four judges will sit at a table in the presentation room.
  • A screen will be placed at the front of the room for judges to view the team’s PowerPoint presentation.
  • A podium and a SHRM laptop will be set up at the front of each room, facing the panel of judges.
  • Team presentations will be preloaded onto the laptop by SHRM staff.
  • During the presentation, a team member may advance the slides manually using the laptop. Alternatively, your team may bring its own wireless mouse, antennae and batteries to advance the slides remotely. SHRM will not provide a wireless mouse, antennae or batteries.
  • Microphones will not be available. The room will be small enough where this is not needed.
  • Wi-Fi will not be provided in the presentation rooms.
  • Gallery seating will be available at the back of the room for Career Summit attendees and chapter advisors/faculty members.

Chapter Advisor/Faculty Member Rules
The Case Competition is a student-only competition. Chapter advisors and faculty members are asked to refrain from providing guidance or feedback from the time the case study is provided to the team captain until the completion of the onsite Case Competition event. This includes any nonverbal communication during the presentations.

Team Check-In

  • Teams may check in the Thursday evening, prior to the first day of the event, or Friday morning, the day of the event.  Please refrain from wearing items with your university logo when checking in.
  • All team members must be present when the team checks in onsite.
  • Teams will be informed onsite during check-in of their designated presentation time. 

Preliminary Round
All preliminary round presentations will occur on the first day of the event—Friday. Up to 30 teams will be permitted to compete at each of the Case Competition events (East, Central and West).

  • If a team is late and/or misses its designated presentation time, the team will forfeit its competition slot.
  • All team members must be in attendance and visible at the front of the room during the presentation, even if they are not presenting.
  • Student chapter advisors, faculty members and individual Career Summit attendees are allowed to sit in on the preliminary round of judging; however, competition rules prohibit viewers from providing feedback regarding the presentations they view.
  • Limited seating will be available to view the oral presentations on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Those participating in the Case Competition are not allowed to sit in on any other team’s preliminary presentation.

Final Round
The final round will be held on the Saturday of each event. The finalists (the top two teams in both Division I and Division II) will be announced prior to the Saturday morning general session speaker.

  • Teams proceeding to the final round will not be able to make any changes to their PowerPoint presentations. However, teams will be able to change what they say for the final round.
  • Teams will present in front of a panel of judges, other Case Competition teams and general Career Summit attendees.
  • Competition finalists will not be allowed to sit in on other teams’ presentations.
  • One exception to this is that the Division I finalists will be permitted to sit in on the Division II finalists’ presentations since they will have already completed their final presentations.
  • Teams will have a period of time to prepare before they present while the general session is going on
  • A flip of a coin will determine which team presents first in each division.
  • Preliminary round scores are not used in the final round; scoring is based solely on the final presentation. 

The oral presentation and written executive summary are scored by separate panels of judges based on the rubrics that are provided along with the case study.

  • The written executive summary is worth 40% of a team’s total preliminary round score.
  • Written executive summaries will be scored in advance of the event.
  • The oral presentation is worth 60% of the total preliminary round score and will be scored onsite by a separate panel of judges.
  • The two teams from each division with the highest combined point total will go on to the final round.
  • The winning teams will be announced during the closing session. 


  • In case of a tie after the preliminary round, the team with the highest score for the written executive summary will move on to the final round.
  • If there is a tie at the end of the final round, the team with the highest ranking during the preliminary round will win.

Dress Code
Exhibit professionalism in appearance and demeanor (e.g., attitude, interactions with others). These factors contribute to the team’s overall score.

  • Wear business attire.
  • Do not dress in college/university colors or wear clothing bearing any reference to your university. This applies to students and chapter advisors/faculty members during check-in on Thursday and throughout the competition.
  • Please remove your name badges before entering the oral presentation room.

Work on the case study must be completed by team members only.

  • Teams are expected to conduct any and all necessary research through publically available resources. Use of all library resources, class textbooks and websites (such as are welcome.
  • Teams are prohibited from securing input or feedback from any individual who is not eligible to compete. Please see Team and Individual Eligibility Requirements.
  • Any action that violates the SHRM Code of Ethics or the rules stated here will immediately disqualify the team.