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Student story

Ben Cooper

25 December 2023

Studying towards a Bachelor of Laws & Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing)


"The most memorable experiences you have are the ones where you take chances. Opportunities will come knocking, it's up to you whether you answer. And at the end of it all, experiences are what life is really about."

UCE Involvement:

SDS Business Case Competition (2017)


MGMT 228 – China Study Tour (2017)
Intern, Scuadamore Law, Spain (2018)
Law Clerk, Lane Neave (2018)

What is the SDS Business Case Competition?

The Student Development Society (SDS) is a group which holds business case competitions for university students throughout New Zealand. In these business case competitions, teams have five hours to analyse a real life business and present a solution. This year, I was selected to represent the University of Canterbury in two of the national competitions in Auckland, and an international competition in Queenstown.

What were your business cases for the national competition?

Our first business was a charity called Look Good, Feel Better who wanted new promotional tactics, including a way to entice men to join the programme. Our second one was CarMax, the largest second-hand car sales group in the US. They were looking for a way to diversify their offerings. We placed third in the second competition and the University of Canterbury finished 3rd overall in New Zealand for 2017.

How was the international competition?

It was a helluva experience! In Queenstown there were 12 teams: 6 from New Zealand, and 6 international teams from Australia, Canada, USA and Norway. We had two big cases and a smaller elevator pitch during the round robins. On top of that, we were competing for the Spirit Cup over the course of the week! It was a chance not only to test our business expertise, but develop friendships and network with people from all over the world.

What was your highlight from the competition?

Winning the Spirit Cup - we really grinded to get that done! There were so many social activities, like heading on board the Earnslaw to a farm across the lake for dinner. It was an unreal opportunity provided for the boys. Also, witnessing the final was intense. Being able to watch the calibre of talent from across the world was pretty cool!

What advice would you give to students wanting to get involved with UCE?

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. There are opportunities to be taken and all you have to do is put your name forward!

Have you found these business case competitions helpful with your university work or your career?

It definitely helped with one of my marketing papers because we had a similar project where we had to re-design customer experience. It helps in terms of putting you in a pressured time situation and having to deliver, which is what you have to do in life. I’ve got confidence that if I can prepare a whole business case in 5 hours, I can do it at work! 

What are your plans for next year?

I’m over in Spain to start with for an 8-week legal internship at a place in central Madrid with an international law firm, Scudamore Law. Following, I’ll return here and start a full time position with Lane Neave in corporate law team.

What are your aspirations for the future?

I want to travel the world and see as many different cultures as I can. I want to live in a few different places! At this stage, long-term, I’d love to end up as a partner at a law firm before doing my own thing.

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