Bringing their “AU” game to the CPA Business Challenge

Students hailing from BC, Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario converged in Calgary from March 6-8, to participate in the 2019 CPA Educational Foundation Business Challenge. After months of virtual meetings where students practiced, analyzed, built, and presented cases and with only one face-to-face practice session, two Athabasca University teams stepped up to the challenge.

For this year’s case, the students worked with Calgary based company Agriteam, which focuses on international development in the areas of economic, environmental, and social sustainability. They were presented with the company’s business problems and tasked with finding a solution. Once they received the case, they only had six hours to analyze, provide solutions, and create a presentation to wow the judges. The stakes were high with prize money and bragging rights on the line.

With 15 teams encompassing some of the best and brightest business students Alberta has to offer, the competition was fierce. After a preliminary round and a final round, we are pleased to announce that team AAA Consulting comprised of Heather Blue, Lisa Harron, Christopher Miller, and Daniela Prado finished 2nd place also taking home a cheque for $5,000!

AAA Consulting L-R: Daniela Prado, Christopher Miller, Lisa Harron, Heather Blue


For Christopher Miller, distance was not a barrier to competing but rather gave an edge to their team, “working in virtual teams isn’t easy, but we certainly learned a lot about ourselves, each other, and how to add value in the modern work environment. One of the things about AU students is they are self-motivated and know that nobody can deliver their outcomes except for them, this work ethic and training allowed the teams to get into motion quickly and deliver value-added ideas that resonated with judges.”

Our second AU team, Arrow Consulting comprised of Jordan Taylor, Suzanne Allen, Marina Angeli and Beverly McNeely did not place but thoroughly enjoyed the learning experience.

“The collaboration between fellow students and the faculty as well as the mentorship provided helped to make the 2019 CPA Business Challenge such a valuable learning experience. The lessons learned will serve us well as we pursue our educational goals and beyond!” said Beverly McNeely.

Arrow Consulting L-R: Jordan Taylor, Suzanne Allen, Marina Angeli, Beverly McNeely


The environment was competitive but in a very friendly, collaborative way. Both teams did an exceptional job in their analysis and presentations.

Business challenges such as the CPA Business Challenge and the Alberta Deans of Business Case Competition, work to develop and foster future business leaders. They give students an opportunity to test out theoretical skills learned in a textbook and apply them to real-world problems.

AAA Consulting plans to bring their A game as they head into this weekend’s Alberta Deans of Business Case Competition hosted by Athabasca University Faculty of Business and NAIT JR Shaw School of Business. We will be cheering them on!

To follow along with the Alberta Deans of Business Case Competition, search the hashtag on Twitter #ADBCASE2019.

Many thanks to Dr. Aris Solomon, Dr. Alex Kondra, Dr Shaun McQuitty, and Dr. Alain May for the substantial time and effort they put into coordinating the competition details and preparing our student teams!

Thank you to academic expert Sandy Kizan for supporting the students at the competition by providing helpful advice on their presentations.

Also a special thank you to Dr. Margaret Law, AU DBA ’15, Richard Cook, MBA’98, and Heidi Erisman, AU MBA ’07 who acted as judges and advisors at our practice session.