Category winner: Boost M6700 (A) & (B): Buyer-Seller Negotiation

This case won the Entrepreneurship category at The Case Centre Awards and Competitions 2020. #CaseAwards2020

Presentation of the trophies for the Entrepreneurship category 2020
Entrepreneurship Entrepreneurship

Celebrating the win

Unfortunately, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we were unable to present the authors in person with their trophies for winning the Marketing category in 2020.

Even though we couldn't make it to the authors, their trophies have started to!

We are delighted to celebrate Horacio, Kriti and Heather's win by sharing these pictures of Horacio and Kriti with their awards - congratulations!

Discover more about the winning case below.

Find out more about the Case Awards here.

The case

Who – the protagonist

John Payne, Senior Sales Manager at Tex Systems, and Cindy Tan, Procurement Manager at Sagittarius Solutions.


laptopTex Systems sells Boost computers (laptops, monitors and portable projects) to businesses in Northern America, Europe and Southeast Asia.

Sagittarius Solutions is a business consulting firm that uses analytics to deliver cutting edge solutions to clients across the globe.


John responded to Cindy’s recent advertisement expressing interest in 50 new high-end computers for her company.

John is a successful salesperson measured by revenue targets every quarter and with a powerful, yet high-cost, new product to sell.

Meanwhile, Cindy has some leftover budget and a request for new computers from her important internal clients to enable them to perform their work better.

Map of South East AsiaWhen?

Both John and Cindy are close to the end of the quarter or fiscal year, thus adding some pressure on both sides.


Sagittarius Solutions is the exclusive vendor of Boost computers in Southeast Asia.

Key quote

“You [John] help your clients feel good about their purchases by first understanding their needs, designing the best possible overall package of volume, warranties, and quality, and making price adjustments accordingly. You now encourage your younger colleagues to avoid getting a reputation for discounting as it could become a bottomless pit.” – an excerpt from the case.

handshakeWhat next?

As John and Cindy prepare to meet, John wants to close the deal soon and for a healthy margin, while Cindy has to comply with stringent limitations and ambitious targets. Could a deal be done?

Interested in finding out more?

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Boost M6700 (A): Buyer-Seller Negotiation - Confidential Instructions for John Payne
Ref 816-0002-1
Boost M6700 (B): Buyer-Seller Negotiation - Confidential Instructions for Cindy Tan
Ref 816-0002-1B
Teaching note
Ref 816-0002-8

The authors


Horacio Falcão, Kriti Jain and Heather Grover

Horacio, Kriti and Heather on writing their role-play case series.

A different format

The authors said: “We are thrilled to win the award. We loved writing the case and we love teaching it.


“It is really encouraging to know that students and professors globally have found the case valuable. We are especially excited because it is in a different format – a role-play style – where students need to assume a business character based on the case, absorb the personality and motivations, and practice their negotiation skills in real-time. This format allows you to bring experiential learning straight into the classroom.”

Role-play cases

The trio commented: “With a role-play case, students learn by doing, so they need to know the theory AND be able to put it into practice, as opposed to a normal business case where they debate the theory based on a real case, but they are not faced with the intensity and the risks of the decisions themselves.

“The simulation aspect of the role-play raises the stakes and makes students realise how tough some decisions are, what biases or theoretical shortcomings they have, but also to appreciate what they already know and increase their confidence based on what they are already able to implement.”

Unique challenges

The authors explained: “There are unique challenges to writing short, role-play style cases.

“Firstly, they are typically situated in an industry background that involves high-stakes negotiation. For the Boost case, it meant researching the broad trends, issues, and financials of the IT hardware and software industry.

“Secondly, it involves visualizing a negotiation situation that seems plausible – something concrete enough that people can relate to, yet abstract and ambiguous enough to allow for various possible decisions and outcomes. Participants are asked to absorb the materials and enact the character in their negotiation practice, so something unrealistic would distract them from the exercise and potentially get in the way of the learning experience. We drew from our experience as negotiators and advisors of hundreds of cases to identify the negotiation patterns and similarities across different real-life stories to build the role-play. 

“Thirdly, role-plays need to be tested over and over again the classroom to ensure that they are easy to absorb, but not simplistic; detailed, yet congruent; short, but not narrow; and thus conducive to diverse negotiation dynamics, and meeting the teaching objectives.”


Case writing tips

The authors concluded: “We like to compare role-play style cases to movie scripts. Instead of a journalistic piece with a description of set events, writing role-plays requires creativity and visualisation. 

“A good tip is to begin by writing one good solid case. Ideally, something that lasts a long time. Use it as often as you can in your classroom. As you know the case inside out, you’ll master it quickly. With that, participants are sure to enjoy it too.”

About the authors

Horacio Falcão is Senior Affiliate Professor of Decision Sciences at INSEAD.

Kriti Jain is Associate Professor at IE Business School.
tw @DrKritiJain

Heather Grover was an independent Negotiation and Strategy Consultant for INSEAD when the case was written.


View all the 2020 winners