Frequently Asked Questions

International Switch Energy Case Competition

Will Switch Energy Alliance (SEA) hold its own International Switch Energy Case Competition this year?

Yes, SEA will hold its Second Annual International Switch Energy Case Competition in Fall 2021. More details coming soon here.

Video submissions

Can we participate even if we are not able to make a video presentation?

Since the competition’s format is virtual, a video presentation is a must in this case. Furthermore, teams are encouraged to use videoconferencing while working on the presentation in order to abide by your home country’s COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.

Are there any video size and quality specifications?

Yes. The video file must be smaller than 3 GB, be in MP4 file format, and with a pixel quality of 1920x1080p or 1280x720p.

Does the video presentation have to be in English?

Yes, the video must be in English and when speaking in the video presentation, each presenter must speak in English. This is an international competition with judges from all around the world and a common language is therefore needed.

Team members can add English subtitles to the presentation if they think it would improve the comprehension of the message. If you decide to use them, make sure subtitles appear line by line in their own section of the slide, without interfering with the presenter, images, or other text.

What is the expected outcome of the competition?

The final outcome of the competition is a 10-minute video that shows the solutions proposed by the Teams, to the problem described in the competition prompt (Check case packet).

How should the video presentation be structured?

Each Team is free to decide on how to structure their video presentation. When deciding on the form and content of the presentation it is important to keep in mind the judging criteria, this is, what the semi-final judges will evaluate the Teams for. You find the judging criteria section in the case packet document (Pages 13-15).

For inspiration, you can have a look at the videos submitted by finalist Teams during the previous SEA competition.


What exactly is the role of the mentor?

Mentors are expected to advise their teams without interfering in the creative process. The role of the mentor includes: providing general guidance to ensure the students understand the problem; testing the feasibility of the solutions proposed by the students; and ensuring that students work efficiently in preparing and delivering a solid product within the given timeframe.

How many sessions can be arranged between a team and their mentor?

During the framework of the Competition (three weeks) mentors will be available to meet with their teams for at least one 40-minute session per week, and a maximum of 5 total hours.

How are the meetings between teams and mentors organized?

Teams and mentors should agree upon the optimal video conferencing platform (i.e. Zoom, Skype, WebEx, etc.) and schedule the mentoring sessions. Teams will need to adapt to their mentor’s time zone and work schedules.

Are mentors expected to spend time researching to provide answers?

No, mentors are not expected to spend a significant amount of time researching to provide answers to the students. The mentors should guide the students on how to find the information themselves. For example by referring to relevant online literature.

Are teams allowed to meet or contact other persons besides the mentor for help or advice?

Besides meeting with your mentor, teams can contact whoever they wish but must produce original work solely attributable to the team members.


What is the role of the semi-final judges?

Semifinal Judges evaluate 5-8 teams between May 15 -17 and score them using The Case Competition Scoring Guide. The scoring file has to be submitted by May 17, 2021.

What is the role of the final judges?

Final Judges review all six of the finalists’ 10-minute video presentations, between May 18-21, and score them using The Case Competition Scoring Guide. The final judges will also participate in the Live Final, which will be held on May 22 from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM (US Central Time). During the live event, the final judges will engage in a Q&A with the finalists. After the Q&A, the judges will individually score the Q&A session. All scores will be totaled, and the placements will be announced.

How is the evaluation/scoring of the presentation performed?

The solution presented will be evaluated in terms of the judging criteria. You find the judging criteria section in the case packet document (Pages 13-15).

How long will the evaluation of a video submission take?

We anticipate a full evaluation will take no longer than 40 mins per team.

Aplication process

Can we form teams with members from different universities?

Yes. Please make sure to fill the information for each team member in the application form.

Can students from all majors participate?

Yes, students from all majors are encouraged to form teams and apply for a spot in the competition.

Can we withdraw our participation from the Competition?

Yes, your team can withdraw from the Competition by sending an email to

Can we change the team leader after the application is completed?

Yes. However, since duplicate applications will not be considered, any change needs to be reported by sending an email to


How will the monetary price be distributed between the winning teams?

The $5000 prize sponsored by CITGO® will be distributed as follows:

First place: $2000, second place: $1300, third place: $800, fourth place: $400, fifth place: $300, and sixth place: $200.