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IMD Professor Charles Dhanaraj wins the John Molson Case Writing Competition

His winning case focuses on Brazilian company Marcopolo

January 21, 2015

IMD Professor Charles Dhanaraj has won first prize in the 2015 John Molson MBA Case Writing Competition for his case on Marcopolo, a Brazilian bus manufacturer.

This is the first time that IMD has participated in this competition.

The case, which Professor Dhanaraj wrote with Fernanda Ribeiro and Eva Stal, challenges participants to develop a competitive strategy for Marcopolo in its quest for global leadership.

The company's goal is to be #1 or #2 in each of its markets, which means it has to compete with industry giants. These include companies with access to capital and a broader integrated value chain (such as Volvo), and others with access to low-cost labor (such as Yutong).

The case highlights the multiple facets in the internationalization of an emerging-market firm, including its decision to invest in developed countries such as the United States, Canada and Australia. All this is happening as the industry's fundamental value proposition is shifting dramatically—moving from providing products (buses) to services (transit solutions).

"The case was a unique opportunity to see a strategy development process unfold in real time. It was also a great opportunity to see how the new multinationals from emerging markets compete with legacy players," Dhanaraj said.

"Competition is very asymmetric. On the one hand, legacy players see the tectonic shift in the landscape but find themselves unable to overcome their inertia and stale mental models. On the other, you see the new players struggling to gain credibility and lacking confidence. The dynamics of competitive strategy come alive in this case."

The full results, as well as information about the award, are available here.

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