Cyprus International Institute of Management (CIIM) is proud to announce that Dr Olga Kandinskaia, a full-time resident faculty at CIIM, has won a top prize in the prestigious annual case writing competition organized by the Case Centre. The Case Centre is a not-for-profit organisation that advances the case method worldwide sponsoring every year an international competition in case writing. The Case Centre’s mission is to share knowledge and experience to inspire and transform business education across the globe. The Case Centre’s annual Awards and Competitions, now in their 27th year, celebrate excellence in case writing and teaching at business schools worldwide. The awards have become known as ‘Oscars’ in case writing.

The awards are made in nine management categories and four competitions. Dr Olga Kandinskaia has won in the competition  ‘Outstanding New Case Writer’ with her case “Engino Toys: Staying in China or Moving to Europe?”. It is the first time that a business school or university from Cyprus has been awarded a top prize in the international competition by the Case Centre.

Winning Case: Engino

Olga’s winning case is about Engino, a small innovative company based in Limassol, and the main protagonist is Costas Sisamos, Founder and Managing Director of Engino. A talented engineer and an experienced primary school teacher, Costas Sisamos started his company Engino in 2004 with the vision to design and produce safe and innovative construction toys of the highest quality that will enhance children’s creativity and imagination while teaching them about science and technology. The firm’s name was made up from two words: ‘engineering’ and ‘innovation’. After 3 years of research and development the first sets of Engino construction toys were launched at the Nuremberg Toy Fair, getting the attention of global buyers and toy experts. The Engino toy system is one of the most versatile building systems in the market as it allowes connectivity in all directions of the 3D space with the minimum number of parts. The toys have received numerous local and international awards.
In 2011 Costas was facing a difficult challenge with his outsourced production in China. His Chinese subcontractor had suddenly imposed considerably higher prices for the coming year. Costas was furious and determined to resist the ultimatum. ‘Has the time come to withdraw production from China? Will it make sense to move it to Cyprus, where I have my home and family? Will my business be financially viable in Cyprus?’ – these are the key questions of the case.

True Passion

Dr Olga Kandinskaia explains how case writing has become a passion and why she wanted to write about Engino. “Winning this competition means the world to me. I have used cases in my teaching for over ten years and writing my first case turned out to be a challenging yet enjoyable experience. When using this case in class, I saw a radical positive change in students’ learning. Case writing has quickly become my true passion. I saw the Engino’s story as a very interesting real-life example of the strategic investment decision process. In the quantitative subject of finance, I wanted my master’s students to engage with a real company, to connect the numbers with an actual business situation, and use the numbers to help develop the right strategy while also taking into account non-financial considerations. This makes a positive impact on their decision-making skills.”

About the Case Centre Awards 2017

According to the Case Centre’s press release published on February 27, 2017, other winners of the Case Centre Awards and Competitions 2017 come from the following institutions: Harvard University (Outstanding Contribution to the Case Method), Vlerick Business School (Outstanding Case Teacher), Harvard Business School (Outstanding Case Writer), IMD Business School (Outstanding Case Writer on this year’s ‘Hot Topic’ Big Data), University of St Gallen (Overall Winning case). Single category winning schools: Antwerp Management School; University of Bath School of Management; London Business School; McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University; Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University; Universidad de Sevilla; Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Olga Kandinskaia is Assistant Professor of Finance and MSc Management Director at Cyprus International Institute of Management (CIIM).
twitter: @OlgaKandinskaia