Reflections on the 2015 Global Health Case Competition

March 2, 2015

Joy Hwang, a member of the Third Place team from the 2015 Global Health Case Competition, reflects on her experience and why the competition is such a great opportunity for students.

It’s Friday night on the second week of school.

While your classmates are out partying or resting comfortably in their beds, you’re tolling away in a small room with 5 other students, some of whom you just met, on a week-long assignment worth no credits yet requires all of your efforts to complete. The clock tells you that it’s midnight. You suddenly realize that it’s way past the 10PM deadline for people to get back home and mentally prepare themselves for the impending presentation. “We’re almost done, guys!” somebody says with a slightly delirious enthusiasm. Despite the frail promise, the night doesn't end until almost 3AM. As you finally amble your way across Moos Tower, the sight of 6 other students in another room gives you the realization that you aren’t alone in your quest for victory.

Welcome to the Global Health Case Competition.

Global Health Case Competition teamIf anyone tells you it’s easy, I’m here to tell you otherwise. After all, you’ll be randomly assigned to a group of students from various disciplines to work together on a case you have little to nopreparation in. It’s going to make you sweat, cry, starve, and lose many nights of restful sleep. Was it worth it? To simply say, “Yes,” would be a huge understatement since the word can’t do backflips to demonstrate my fervent excitement from the experience. If I was ever in a comfort zone, this case competition took me well out of it. And I’m glad that it did. After all, it gave me the wonderful opportunity to work with some of the brightest, most diligent group of students from all levels and areas of study. My team also had one of the best Coaches anyone could ever ask for: Dr. Karin Hamilton. Throughout the experience, Karin guided us towards solidifying our vision and gave us tips on ways to strengthen our presentation. As someone with a track record of working on real global health cases, her inputs were like a defining lens for our hazy ideas. Our team was so grateful for her help that we called ourselves Team Karin.

Through working on the case, I learned substantially about a different country and worked with my team on concocting creative ways to solve its unique challenges. With our different disciplinary backgrounds, each of us offered different, yet complimentary, viewpoints on ways to solve the case. Since it was the first case competition for everyone in my group, we were very fortunate to win Third Place from the culmination of our efforts. Nonetheless, the real prizes we won were more than any solid awards. For years to come, I will always cherish the moments when my group worked arduously together on finding The Solution. Even after the competition was over, some of us still kept in touch with each other and recounted the moments with a big smile on our face. For us, the case competition was an eye-opening experience that created memories of a lifetime.