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Case Study Competition Judging Criteria

You will be judged on the depth and relevance of your research (30% of score), the creativity and feasibility of your ideas (50% of score) and the clarity with which you portray both (15% of score). Following format directions will account for the remaining 5% of your score. Your case will be judged by industry professionals including the YMA FSF Board of Governors, YMA FSF Mentors, and YMA FSF Alumni. They will be using the following criteria to score your case:


• Has the scholar completed exhaustive research on best-in-class market players and their retailer of choice in order to successfully fulfill the objective at hand?

• Has the scholar acknowledged any instances in which their idea (or something close to) has been executed in the past, and whether it was successful?

• Does the scholar display strong business acumen and common sense?


• Is the scholar’s idea unique, inspiring and innovative?

• Is the scholar’s idea well-thought-out and conceivably executable?


• Has the scholar clearly completed each portion of their prompt?

• Does the scholar’s case follow logical development and a clear structure; is it easy to follow and summarize?


• Has the scholar followed all formatting directions, 1" margins on all 4 sides, double spaces, size 12pt Times Roman font?

• Has the scholar used correct grammar and spelling?

• Has the scholar included a title page with one sentence to summarize the case?

• Was the student's name and school was kept anonymous?

To access the 2018 case study prompt, reach out to your school’s FSF educator. For your convenience, here is a list of FSF Educators by school:

Academy of Art University - Jinah Oh, Joh@academyart.edu

Arizona, University of - Kylee Vanek , kvanek@email.arizona.edu

Auburn University - Pamela Ulrich , ulricpv@auburn.edu

Barnard College - Donna Holder, dholder@barnard.edu

Brandeis - Alan Bertman, abertman@brandeis.edu

Buffalo State - Lynn M. Boorady, Booradlm@buffalostate.edu

Cal-Berkeley - Renee Camarena, renee@haas.berkeley.edu

California College of the Arts - John Bauernfeind, j.bauernfeind@cca.edu

Cal-State Polytechnic U - Peter Kilduff, pkilduff@cpp.edu

University of Cincinnati - Zachary Hoh, hohzd@ucmail.edu

Colorado State University - Nancy Miller, Nancy.Miller@colostate.edu

Columbia College in Chicago - Dana Hall, dconnell@colum.edu

Columbus College Art & Design - Patricia Carlos ,

Cornell University - Tasha Lewis, TLL28@cornell.edu

Delaware, University of - Brenda Shaffer, bshaffer@udel.edu

Drexel University - Alphonso McClendon, sg94qs5s@drexel.edu

Fashion Institute of Technology - Robin Sackin, robin_sackin@fitnyc.edu

FIDM - Roni Miller Start, rmiller@fidm.edu

Florida State University - Ann Langston, alangston@fsu.edu

Florida, University of - Cecila Schulz, Cecilia.schulz@warrington.ufl.edu

George Brown College - Marilyn McNeil-Morin, mmcneil@georgebrown.ca

Georgia, University of - Greg Vessels, gvessels@uga.edu

Harvard University - Benny Belvin , bbelvin@fas.harvard.edu

Indiana University - Deb Christiansen, delchris@indiana.edu

Iowa State University - Ann Thye, annthye@iastate.edu

Kansas State University - Hannah Schuh, hannaheb@k-state.edu

Kent State University - Jewon Lyu, jlyu@kent.edu

Lehigh University - Nevena Koukova , nek205@lehigh.edu

LIM College - Marla Greene, marla.greene@limcollege.edu

Marist College - Jodi Hartmann, Jodi.Hartmann1@marist.edu

Miami International, - Charlene Parsons, cparsons@aii.edu

Minnesota, University of - Elizabeth Bye, ebye@umn.edu

Missouri, University of - Columbia - Pamela Norum, NorumP@missouri.edu

Morehouse College - James Tyson, james.tyson@morehouse.edu

New York University - Yevgeniya Traps, yt21@nyu.edu

North Carolina @ Greensboro - Nancy Nelson Hodges, NJNELSON@uncg.edu

North Carolina State University - Kent Hester, kent_hester@ncsu.edu

Ohio State University - Alexandra Ruiz Suer, suer.15@osu.edu

Oklahoma State - Diane Morton Limbaugh, diane.morton@okstate.edu

Otis College of Art & Design - Jane Engelman, engelman@otis.edu

Parsons School of Design - Shannon Price, prices@newschool.edu

Philadelphia University - Sheila Connelly, connellys@philau.edu

Pratt Institute - Van Lupu , vlupu@pratt.edu

Purdue University - Susan Owens, skowens@purdue.edu

Rhode Island School of Design - Kathleen Grevers , kgrevers@risd.edu

Rhode Island, Univ of - Susan L. Hannel, susanhannel@uri.edu

Santa Clara University - Cynthia Gamage , Cgamage@scu.edu

Savannah College of Art & Design - Doris Treptow, dtreptow@scad.edu

Stephens College - Monica McMurray, MMcMurry@stephens.edu

Syracuse University - Jeffrey Mayer, jcmayer@syr.edu

Texas A & M University - Cheryl Bridges, c-bridges@mays.tamu.edu

Texas North, University of - Laura Storm, Laura.Storm@unt.edu

Texas, University of - Nancy Prideaux, nprideaux@utexas.edu

UCLA - Angela Campbell, adeaver@college.ucla.edu

University of Southern California - Dennis Schorr, Dschorr@marshall.usc.edu

Virginia Commonwealth University - Deidra Arington, dwarrington@vcu.edu

Washington University in St. Louis - Casey Jenkerson, caseyjenkerson@wustl.edu

Washington, University of - Emily Smith, emilys42@uw.edu

Wharton School, University of Penn - Susan McMullen, mcmullen@wharton.upenn.edu

Wisconsin, University of - Madison - Jerry O'Brien, gobrien@wisc.edu

Yeshiva University - Melanie Zuckerman, melanie.zuckerman@yu.edu

What is the page count requirement for the 2018 case study?

While in the past, the FSF case studies had a specific page count requirement for each part of the prompt, the 2018 is no longer broken up into sections. All case studies must be no longer than 10 pages: this does not include appendix, bibliography and footnotes, which should take up no more than 5 additional pages.

How do you define a curated collection?

A curated collection is a collection that can lend itself to be displayed as a destination that customers go to visit instead of simply shop. This could be, but is not limited to, collections featuring both clothing and accessories or other lifestyle items. It could also be, but is not limited to, a collection or assortment that can stand alone or sit within a larger collection, brand, or store. The fashion retailer chosen does not necessarily have to have offered a curated collection before. What is most important is that the collection can clearly accomplish the ultimate goal of the case study, which is to drive store traffic in an evermore digital world.

If I am studying abroad for the entire 2017-2018 academic year, can I still participate and apply for the case study competition?

Is there a preferred format or order of subtitles?

Is the cover page included in the 10 page limit?

Is a primary source required for this year's case study?

Since retailers are not limited to apparel, are collections open to other products categories as well?

What are the instructions for submitting my case study?

Case studies should be submitted via Slideroom. Please contact your educator for complete instructions.

What is the expectation around design students incorporating digital technology into their case?

The objective of the case is to "explore how the weaving together of digital technology with offline shopping can improve the performance of a fashion retailer of your choice." To put more simply, the goal is to "make brick and mortar retail more relevant to today’s customers." We asked that the design students specifically focus on accomplishing this goal by designing a curated collection that will make physical stores an interesting place to visit, almost like a museum or an art exhibit. Since most people today in some way interact with digital technology during their purchase journey, it would make sense that this curated collection does as well, but how exactly that is executed is up to the case applicant.

Which season should the cases be written about?

Launch season is up to the applicant.

Should each applicant choose whether do complete part A/B/C/D or are all applicants expect to complete all four sections?

Each applicant is expected to only choose one discipline (Design & Product Development, Merchandising & Marketing, Technology & Nalaytics or Supply Chain).

Should the applicant focus on one customer group or can their strategy target a variety of customers?

Choice of target customer segment(s) is up to the applicant; what is important is that the target customer segment(s) makes sense for how the applicant is hoping to accomplish the objective of the case which is to make physical stores more relevant in an incresingly digital world. The case prompt also specifically warns to "keep in mind that this is not just a millennial opportunity. Customers across all generations are smarter and more demanding about their shopping experiences and it is your goal to improve the physical store channel to better meet their needs and wants." That said again, the choice on which target customer segment(s) to go after is up to the applicant.

What is expected from design applicants in terms of a "design process"?

In order to see the student's design process, applicants will need to include a page or two from the their process journal or sketch book. This will show judges how the applicant's designs began and developed.

This year's brief doesn't ask for technical flat sketches (as it has in previous years), but does ask designers to illustrate 6-8 looks and create front and back sketches for 3 of the looks. Can you please clarify whether the expectation is to provide front illustrations for 6-8 and back illustrations for just 3 with no flats?

Designers are expected to provide 6-8 front illustrations for the proposed product offering, and create front and back flats for three of those 6-8 looks.

How do I get access to log onto Slide Room?

By October 2nd, applicants competing in the FSF scholarship competition will receive the SlideRoom link from their FSF educator. Applicants will then create a their SlideRoom account, complete the online application, upload their completed case study and SUBMIT by midnight PST on October 16, 2017.

The case prompt calls for an APA format and a bibliography.Since APA format usually includes a reference list rather than a bibliography, is a reference list needed?

Scholars should follow APA formatting therefore a reference list alone is acceptable. Bibliography is not required in APA formatting.

Is the page limit 10, one-sided?

Are design students only allowed to use three colors in their materials story?

No. We are looking for three colorways and three prints, including a range of color the design student feels is appropriate for their line.

Within the design case, what type of sketches are acceptable? Is it limited to hand-drawn sketches, digital sketches?

Illustrations can be done by hand or by CAD.

Are students required to complete a SWOT analysis for the study this year?

No. While students are required to conduct research on the leading fashion retailers that are relevant to each discipline prompt and to share a brief comparison of the various retailers researched, there is no required format or framework for this section of the case study.

Does this year's scholarship need to contain an abstract at the beginning of the report? If so, is that included in the 10 page limit?

No abstract page is required. We asked that an abstract statement is incorporated on the title page and reduced it to one sentence to summarize the case.

Does the ten page limit include references?

For the Merchandising and Marketing six-month financial plan, should the focus be on one physical store's finances or the entire company?

The format of the financial plan is up to the scholar. What is important is that the scholar clearly outlines all the assumptions they made to project out their expected sales, receipts, profit margin and inventory. The case reader should get a can get a clear sense that the scholar has thought through the financial repercussions of their proposal, and that they have a specific plan for how their proposal will provide a return on the company's investment.

Are we required to have all three: footnotes, appendix, and bibliography?

No. We require that all cases are submitted using APA formatting.

Are all components of the Design case study supposed to fit within the 10 page limit or will the students be able to submit supplmental materials through a digital portfolio?

No digital portfolio on SlideRoom. It must all fit within the 10 page limit and 5 additional pages in the appendix.

Are there requirements for margin size and font size for the written portion?

Yes, APA formatting guidelines.

Is there a page limit on the appendix?

Yes, the appendix should be no longer than 5 pages.

What time does the application close on October 16th?

At midnight, Eastern Standard Time.



Teams of three to five students compete in the analysis of an evaluation case file that is available in English and French. English-speaking and French-speaking students from all disciplines and all levels of post-secondary study are welcome to participate. There is no limit to the number of teams from a given institution.

In a preliminary competition, on a designated date, all teams receive the key to an evaluation case file that has been hidden on the Web. They have 5.5 hours to prepare an analysis then submit it by e-mail for judging by a bilingual panel of experts. The top three teams are invited to participate in a final round, held at the Canadian Evaluation Society's annual conference, in which they must analyse a new case and present findings and recommendations before a live audience.

The 3 finalist teams are given free conference registration, and up to 80% of the costs of travel, accommodations, meals and CES membership. Most teams get sponsorship from their home university or other sources for the remaining 20%.

The team that makes the best presentation takes possession of the Case Competition Plaque for a year, receives prizes and is given visibility on the CES website.

All participants are given the opportunity to provide a two-page resume which is shared with the competition sponsors.

General rules

  1. There must be at least three and no more than five members to a team.
  2. Coaches are asked to ensure they provide the time and attention to coaching that teams require. To this end, we encourage each coach to submit a maximum of two teams. The focus should be on ensuring teams have support in preparing for the competition and in learning about evaluation.
  3. All team members must be registered in a university or college program (undergraduate or graduate, full or part time). A student is defined as an individual enrolled in a Canadian university or a Canadian or permanent resident of Canada enrolled at a non-Canadian university. However, a team from a non-Canadian university may also include students from other countries as long as there at least two Canadian or permanent residents of Canada on the team. Team members may be from any academic discipline. Coaches may be professors or individuals with experience and expertise in evaluation who can provide guidance in helping students prepare for the competition.
  4. All students, including previous finalists, can compete as often as they like while enrolled in studies. In an effort to share knowledge and expertise, we recommend that finalist teams from previous years 'split up' and join with other students from their university who have not competed or made the final round. For example, a team could be made up of two previous finalists and three others.
  5. Teams may be coached prior to the competition but coaches must not communicate with their teams once the teams have received the case.
  6. In preparing their submissions, teams are at liberty to explore any public information source such as would be accessible by a consulting group. For example, they may consult books or articles, search libraries, use the Internet, and so forth. Team members are free to leave the work-site and take refreshment as they wish but they may communicate only within the team. They are not to communicate with their coach.

Suggestions: Have fun! Share responsibility and control within the group. Remember, it is not important whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.

Preliminary round

  1. For the competition each team must organize: a place to work, an Internet connection to enable downloading of the case and a printer to produce copies of the case for each team member.
  2. Teams must select a contact person. The day before round one of the competition, the contact person will be sent an email with a team identification number and a link to a secure website.
  3. Once this website is accessed on the round one competition day, the team will have 5.5 hours to complete the case and upload their submission to the same website.
  4. Your submission must be one PDF document – not a zipped file of multiple documents.
  5. Submissions should be concise. Judges will look for quality, rather than quantity, in the advice from teams.
  6. Judges must not know the real identity of the teams. Thus, throughout their submission, teams should identify themselves only by an imaginative, non-revealing code name, such as Noble Consultants. Do not use the word “evaluation” or any variation on “evaluation” in your team name. Also they should not include the name of their university, province or city in the submission.
  7. Judges may take up to one month to select the top three submissions and provide feedback for all teams.

Final round

  1. Teams should bring their own laptop computers loaded with MS PowerPoint software for preparation of their presentation and a USB key to save the case presentation. Food will be provided by the competition organizers in the preparation room, but teams can also bring snacks. Organizers may interrupt teams briefly to take pictures of members at work preparing their presentation.
  2. Teams will have five hours to complete the case. One of the organizers will then collect the USB containing the presentation. The team will then have a 60 minute break before presenting to the judges.
  3. The presentations may be recorded on video.
  4. Presentations should be no longer than 20 minutes. A time-keeper will give warning as the end of the presentation period approaches.
  5. Judges and the audience will have up to 10 minutes after the presentation to ask questions of the team.

Criteria for scoring

The following table provides teams and judges with a previous example of the assessment criteria. However, the uniqueness of each case necessitates flexibility in the evaluation process. See previous cases on our website for the various criteria that have been used.

Demonstration of an understanding of the program 5%
Appropriateness of the logic model 10%
Clarity, completeness and appropriateness of evaluation matrix 25%
Appropriateness of (and rationale for) the evaluation design, data collection and analysis plan 20%
An assessment of challenges and how these will be addressed 15%
Quality of the draft information collection tools 10%
Innovative ideas or detailed practical suggestions 5%
Quality of the proposal (writing and presentation) 10%
Total 100%


Is there a video of past case competitions? How do I get a copy?
There are videos of the 2011 and 2012 final round presentations on our website.
Who can serve as a coach?
Coaches should be individuals with expertise in evaluation who can provide guidance to teams in preparing for the competition. In past competitions coaches have come from different settings:
  • Professors who coach students in one of their courses.
  • Professors who coach teams made up of students from different faculties
  • In one case, A CES Chapter has appointed a coach from the membership who works in evaluation. This individual coaches and gets other chapter members involved as judges for ‘dry runs’ that the teams work on.
    Are teams allowed to substitute team members for the preliminary or final round of the case competition?
    Yes, you can. For the preliminary round, you can change or include any team member, provided that the new team member is a student under the definition of the case competition, and that you have no more than five team members participating in the first round.

    Under extenuating circumstances, you are permitted to substitute an alternate team member if they cannot be part of the final round, provided that there are at least 3 original team members on your team during the final round. For more information or clarification, please discuss this with the case competition organizing committee.

    Once you have decided on your replacement, you can either email to the committee or change your registration on the Case Competition Web site.

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