Two International Students Win the Honorary International Case Award and the Honorary Business Case Award
2023-05-24 17:35:08
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 In the 2023 Student Case Study Competition, the work of two Peking University HSBC Business School (PHBS) students, Kenny Anthony (Indonesia) and Riko Setsuta (Japan), stood out to win the Honorary International Case Award & the Honorary Business Case Award. The annual event is held worldwide by the Institute for Public Relations (IPR) and the Arthur W. Page Society, a world leading professional association.
“We are the only business school, as well as an international entry, to win the award two years in a row, after last year, when our PHBS team became the very first team from outside North America to win in the 20-year history of this prestigious award,” remarked Soojin Roh, PHBS assistant professor and faculty advisor of the winning team.
Professor Roh has a discussion with the PHBS team
This year's competition drew 36 entries, 27 from communications schools and nine from business schools, from 22 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 for improving corporate communication as a function.
Titled “Not Your Average Joe: How Spotify Experienced the Extraordinary Joe,” PHBS students’ work probed into the ‘Joe Rogan’ incident involving Spotify. As a major podcaster exclusively contracted by Spotify, Joe Rogan had produced a podcast containing COVID-19 misinformation, which provoked a public outcry, with Spotify being blamed for not being able to timely remove the content and for its unwillingness to take responsibility for the exclusively-contracted content creator’s misbehavior.
“We found this case unique because there has been a continuous change in Spotify's stance, from initially insisting on being an open platform to finally going forward with equipping advanced technologies to perform content filtering,” said the team. Based on this specific case, the two students analyzed a corporate crisis and its public relations strategies in the context of the pandemic, depicting how the crisis inevitably led to the platform’s response after the public outcry and how Spotify started to mitigate similar crises by listening to stakeholders and utilizing advanced technologies.
To platform companies in this digital era, engaging with its major Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) is as important as ever. Through extensive and relentless research, the team managed to adapt a logical structure for the case and believe that this novel approach will pave the way for future research in the KOL management domain. Their case provided anecdotal evidence of how platform companies should manage their exclusive contractors and KOLs by analyzing Spotify's public reactions and how those companies should prepare for every possible outcome.
Noting the importance of the way platform companies handle public relations affairs involving their major contractors in preventing, navigating, and recovering from a crisis, the PHBS team strongly advocates the importance of the management of major contractors in corporate communications, suggesting that platform enterprises should treat their major contractors as internal communication “assets,” because the public perception associates both the platform and contractor together, regardless of their actual relationship.
“It is a clear testament to the hard work and critical minds of our students who are unparalleled globally. I am so proud of the winning team, the brightest and most humble,” remarked Roh, recalling her delight in advising them and appreciating their determination through the difficulties. “Working on this competition has actually given us a perfect opportunity to review and apply the PR frameworks we learned in class,” the PHBS team said, “and we would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to our faculty advisor Professor Soojin Roh for providing constructive advice and guiding us through the Public Relations and Strategic Communication course.”
The team also credited the global perspectives and hands-on analytical approach they learned through the well-curated course content, which “helped set a clear direction for us to develop a deeper understanding of the theoretical framework and practice of the Public Relations domain.” Incorporating cutting edge subjects such as data analysis and information visualization into the curriculum, our master’s programs have been encouraging students to conduct cross-disciplinary research, contributing to strategic communication in the business world by using global perspectives.
The team, along with its advisor, receives the award
(From the left to right, Soojin Roh, Riko Setsuta, and Kenny Anthony)
This year's winners also included students from Texas Christian University (overall grand prize), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (second prize), and American University (third prize). Student authors of winning entries and their advisors will receive their awards at the upcoming ceremony and be recognized by leading corporate communications executives.

By Annie Jin