Welcome to ROCA

Jerry Tomberlin

Provost and Vice-President (Academic), Carleton University

On behalf of Carleton University, welcome to the Rotterdam-Carleton International Case Competition. We’re delighted to host this important international event in Canada’s capital, and look forward to welcoming you to the new home of the Sprott School of Business.

ROCA is a unique partnership between two of the world’s leading business schools. It reflects our philosophy of collaboration, our belief in the value of experiential learning, and our shared commitment to positive change.

While universities were established to create and share knowledge, they also have a responsibility to prepare students to address the big challenges facing our world. ROCA was conceived with that goal in mind. Our aim is to encourage young people to expand their minds, imagine possibilities and harness the power of teamwork to solve complex problems. In bringing teams together from around the globe, we also showcase the benefits of diversity, inclusion and the exchange of ideas across boundaries.

ROCA cases are more than just interesting business challenges. They are opportunities for you to think differently and develop solutions that are ethical, socially responsible and environmentally sustainable. We are delighted to share them with you and excited to explore your ideas and resolutions.

Best wishes for an amazing and transformative week.


Ron Bormans

President, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences

Welcome to ROCA. The Rotterdam-Carleton International Case Competition will be a great event: 16 highly motivated student teams from 16 top universities from across the globe competing for the best solutions.

Our university strongly supports case education and case competitions; that is why we established the Rotterdam International Case Academy five years ago. The academy offers students from many different backgrounds case-based semester programmes, and prepares students and lecturers for participation in international case competitions. Co-hosting ROCA is a logical next step.

With ROCA, on the one hand, we want to enable talented student teams to apply their knowledge to actual and complicated business challenges – a great learning experience. On the other hand, we want to help companies and NGOs by providing them with creative, innovative and feasible solutions for their “wicked problems”. We want to create a win-win, for both students and organizations. Now more than ever.

The world is changing rapidly. Climate change, inequality, COVID-19… We all know, all these problems have to be addressed. But how? I truly believe that the role of education is, among other things, to create awareness among students. The world of today does not happen to us, but is the result of human choices, certainly economic choices. Current business models are destroying the planet, creating more and more inequality and proving to be incredibly vulnerable. What to do?

University students should be taught that current major problems require a different approach. “Doing business as usual” is no longer a valid approach, the “usual” has brought us where we are now. Therefore, questions addressing the balance between economic success, ecology and social responsibility need to be raised. We as universities and business schools, should interpret the word “value” in a much broader way. Maybe we have focused too much and too long on economic value in particular. We have to innovate and reset our minds. Sustainability, Circular Economy, Social Responsibility… They all should be core.

We as educators have to strengthen our efforts to “deliver” the best education possible. After all, we have the obligation to turn students into good decision makers. How to make the best decisions in business? What is of real value?  I hope that cases, competitions and our own ROCA in particular can be one of the important tools for finding the best answers. Highly talented students and our future leaders, advising the leaders of today’s companies! What more can you wish for?