This year I was asked to Judge the Telecommunications Case for the 2015 ITC hosted at Cal Poly Pomona (My Alma Mater). Instead of the traditional cases, which focused on specific numbers of machines and network requirements. A telecommunications professor I went to school with once complimented the class for their ability to recall information, but mentioned that critical and creative thinking is lacking among students. I believe he’s right and this test case was created with that in mind. I wanted the blooming students to think as if they were in charge of a new telecom consultancy, with nearly unlimited capital. What would they do, how would they manage workers, and how would they innovate the industry. Below is the case for your entertainment:
A group of tech savvy angel investors have identified a lack of telecom consultancies in the Southern California area. In an attempt to capitalize on this observation, they’re interviewing new startup consultancies to find the most qualified group of telecom experts to invest in. Not only do the investors want experts in their field, but they’d also like to find a consultancy who understands how to make a profit over the next 5 years. They’re willing to pay handsomely if they can find the right group.
The investors also understand that the telecommunications industry extends far beyond the bounds of remote hardware monitoring and configuration for big companies. For that reason, they’re looking to invest into a modern company which knows how to do the above plus be innovators and luminaries.
Key Points and Assumptions:
The Investors will hire 15 additional, highly skilled workers. The consultants will automatically be promoted to managers and will be delegating work to these new employees. Everyone will be working 6 days a week. 4 of the 6 days will be spent earning all the immediate money and doing your “bread and butter” common services. 2 of the 6 days will be spent working towards fun, innovative, and hopefully highly lucrative projects. It’s assumed that the work environment can accommodate any reasonably sized project and the investors have access to as much money as the consultancy can justify.
The investors will make their decision based on answers to these key questions:
- 4 of the 6 work days will be spent working on making all of the immediate money to support the business. In Southern California, what are the fastest growing and most profitable areas of the telecommunications industry? Which hardware and technologies will you focus on and what sort of services will you provide? What specifically will your 15 workers be doing during these 4 days (keep in mind you need someone to do your accounting / payables etc)? How much money do you expect to make or lose over the next 5 years? Explain your answers and please consider market trends, competition, and ROI of the technologies that you choose to focus on.
- 2 of the 6 work days will be spent creatively working towards fun, high risk / high reward projects. Present your top creative project idea in great detail. Answer questions such as but not limited to: why you chose it, why people would use it, how are you going to complete it, and how will you monetize it. (it can be anything – from developing a new, more efficient protocol to creating your own custom firewall appliances).