ROCA is an annual case-based competition featuring top undergraduate student teams from leading business schools across the globe. Thanks to is strong focus on sustainability, leadership, and innovative shifts in the modern economy, this week-long experience provides students, coaches, judges and volunteers with a meaningful and transformative global experience.
About ROCA: our unique weekly format
ROCA alternates between the two host cities — in Rotterdam, Netherlands on even-numbered years and in Ottawa, Canada on odd-numbered years. The competition spans an entire week each fall. It begins with an opening ceremony on Sunday and a divisional phase that runs the Monday to Wednesday.
Teams are divided into four divisions of four teams, for a total of 16 student teams. Each team competes head-to-head with the other three teams in their division. Then, the divisional winners, along with the top two point-getters from the non-winners, advance to the Championship Final on Friday.
Competitors and coaches at ROCA get to connect with the business community in the host city throughout the week. Additionally, they will enjoy robust social evening activities, a touring day on Thursday and a Gala Banquet on Friday night.
ROCA features several elements that distinguish it from other case competitions:
- The competition is organized by two globally-oriented European and North American business schools. As a result, participants benefit from diverse experiences and global perspectives.
- The challenges tackled by students at ROCA are “live and relevant”. Written in close cooperation with each company, cases focus on a specific, current business issue. Teams have an opportunity to speak directly with managers from the case as they prepare their solutions (see below!).
- Cases have a strong focus on sustainability, responsible management, and the economy and society of the future.
- Participating teams are guaranteed a minimum of 3 matches. The six teams that qualify for the Championship Finals will tackle a total of 4 different cases.
- Several weeks before the start of the competition, all ROCA cases are accompanied by a digital database. This strategically provides more complete and realistic solutions. It also levels the playing field for teams that may be less familiar with the industry or geographic setting of the case.
Cases and competition
Unlike other competitions, ROCA’s host institutions write the four cases. These cases intentionally cover a broad range of interdisciplinary business problems. They have a strong focus on sustainability, leadership and shifts in the modern economy (see our previous competition cases, here).
Teams have advance access to a database of information about the companies featured in the competition, but do not receive the case itself until the day of the match. Case in-hand, they have six hours to analyze the situation and prepare their recommendations. For each case, teams have an opportunity to meet with representatives from the featured company.
Teams present their solution to a panel of expert judges drawn from leading companies, government and non-profit organizations, and the host university. Presentations at ROCA last 15 minutes followed by 10 minutes of Q&A (12 minutes and 8 minutes in the Championship Final). Teams receive oral and written feedback from the judges after every presentation.
For detailed information regarding student eligibility, competition format and procedures for the Qualifying and Championship Rounds, see the official rules.
Our ROCA mission
- To challenge participants with complex problems that demand integrative, cross-disciplinary thinking and reasoned application of knowledge and theoretical concepts;
- To reflect the reality of modern business by using cases with a strong focus on contemporary issues, new business models and technologies;
- To provide a forum for exchanging ideas and perspectives from a diversity of cultures, both within the competition itself and in its ancillary activities;
- To support companies in Ottawa and Rotterdam by harnessing the creativity of students to provide innovative yet feasible solutions to their “wicked problems”;
- To facilitate meaningful networking among students from participating universities and those from the two host schools;
- To create and enhance student career opportunities by connecting participants with employers that share our universities’ commitment to sustainability and responsible management, and;
- To promote Rotterdam and Ottawa through the event itself, and the cases developed for it.
For questions about the 2023 competition or logistics, email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org