PHBS Students Win Third Prize in International Public Relations Case Study Competition
2022-04-06 10:21:54
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In the 2022 Student Case Study Competition, the work of four Peking University HSBC Business School (PHBS) students,  Li Yuren, Zhang Renyao,  Han Yajun,  and Sun Weiyi, stood out to win the third prize. The annual event was held worldwide by the Institute for Public Relations (IPR) and the Arthur W. Page Society, a world leading professional association of nearly 800 global leaders in corporate communications and public relations. 

This year's competition drew 40 entries from 28 educational institutions across the United States, China, the Philippines, and Singapore, awarding students whose original case studies best contributed to the profession's body of knowledge and provided practical suggestions improving the corporate communication function. 

PHBS team stands out in 2022 student Case Study Competition

“I am very proud of my students and excited to have the opportunity to share our story with the rest of the world,” remarked Soojin Roh, PHBS assistant professor and faculty advisor of the winning team. This is the very first time in the 20-year history of the prestigious competition that an international entry (outside of North America) has won the award. 

Online group discussions for the case study. The team consists of three financial media students, Li Yuren, Zhang Renyao, Han Yajun, and one quantitative finance student Sun Weiyi. All are from Prof. Soojin Roh's Public Relations and Strategic Communications Class


Titled “Fans Fever Cools Down, Talent Show Shuts Down: Milk Wasting Scandal of iQIYI Leads to Government Intervention,” PHBS students’ work probed into the ‘milk pouring’ incident involving Chinese video platform iQIYI, which encouraged viewers to buy sponsor’s milk products and scan the QR code inside the caps to vote for their favorite contestants in the show. The case shows how key stakeholders including government played different roles in the development of the crisis.

One of the strengths of the case study is that the authors made an effective effort to explain the sentiments, history, and culture surrounding the crisis event, as refers to the long history of participating fan culture for making of idols, as well as the fierce competition in the entertainment/media industry, and public sentiments towards wasting food.

Based on this specific case, students analyzed a corporate crisis and its public relations strategies in the Chinese context, depicting how the corporate crisis inevitably led to government intervention after public outcry, which is unique to crisis management in China. Compared to the actual response from both iQIYI and Mengniu Dairy, they suggested that positive voting rules and specific compensatory measures should be in place to fulfill social responsibilities. 

“One of our primary goals of participating in this competition was to call for more attention to more nuanced perspectives on PR in a non-American context,” Roh concluded. Despite growing calls for more “international” takes on PR, the local perspectives specific to certain culture and region are largely missing from PR practices, discussion, and literature. The critical thinking of our students demonstrated in the competition provided new international angles in this regard. Incorporating cutting edge subjects such as data analysis and information visualization into the curriculum, our master’s programs has been encouraging faculty and students to contribute to strategic communication and public relations in the business world using global perspectives.

“ It is a great pleasure to finish this case study and we all feel very honored to win the award,” the PHBS team said, “and many thanks to Professor Roh for her insightful advice and patient tutoring.” Student authors of winning entries and their advisors will be awarded in the upcoming ceremony and recognized by the leading corporate communications executives.

This year's winners also include students from Boston University (grand prize), University of Florida(first prize) , University of Oklahoma (second prize), covering the topics of politically-motivated corporate social responsibility campaigns, the airline industry during the pandemic, and values-driven business in conflict. To see all of the documents of the winning submissions, including presentations and teaching notes, please visit:

By Annie Jin 
Edited by Jonathan Pearson
The winning team and Prof. Roh also contributed to the story