And the winner is…
Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business and NAIT’s JR Shaw School of Business co-hosted the 14th Annual Alberta Deans of Business Case Competition from March 14-16, 2019 and it was one to remember!
The co-hosted case competition, held at NAIT’s campus, kicked-off by rolling out the red carpet for Alberta’s best and brightest business students, who represented 14 post-secondary institutions from across the province.
“I believe students learn a great deal from these case competitions to solve real-world business problems and develop the soft skills needed in today’s business world,” said Faculty of Business Dean Deborah Hurst.
The theme for this year’s competition was “stars award’s show” and was woven into every aspect of the event. From the welcome reception, to a Walk of Fame for each business school, to a red-carpet photo op – it was a spectacular affair. After the Thursday evening of celebration, with a beautiful dinner at Ernest’s and all the glitz and glam of an award’s show – it was time for the competition to begin.
On Friday, the next morning, teams attended a live case presentation and were then separated into their work-war-rooms. The teams were then invited back at 1 p.m. to ask the CEO of the live case specific questions for clarification. It was a tricky Q&A period as the teams did not want to give away their case insights but, did want to learn from one another’s questions. Teams then had the rest of Friday (a total of 9.5 hours) until 6 p.m. to analyze, prepare, provide their solutions, and to create a captivating presentation to wow the judges. They were not allowed to converse with their coaches until their written work was submitted.
On Saturday morning each of 14 teams provided a 12 minute presentation followed by Q&A. This pressure-packed competition gave students the opportunity to test out their ability to apply theoretical knowledge and apply it to a real-world case problem.
Athabasca University picked up this year’s top spot at the 14th Annual Alberta Deans of Business Case Competition. Congratulations to the winning team, which included Heather Blue, Lisa Harron, Christopher Miller, and Daniela Prado. The team was awarded $4,000 by the CPA Education Fund. The AU-FB team was still soaring from their win earlier this March, where they placed 2nd at the 2019 CPA Educational Foundation Business Challenge. Dr. Matthew Prineas, Provost and Vice President Academic, echoed these congratulations by saying “huge congratulations to the coaches and students involved. This is exciting for AU and manifests the spirit of impactful learning that transforms lives and communities.”
The Olds College team placed second at the AB Business Dean’s competition, winning $2,500 and the Red Deer College’s Donald School of Business team, placed third, winning $1,500. A hearty congratulations to both schools on their wins.
“Competing in the case competition was a fantastic experience and one of the highlights of my time with AU,” said Lisa Harron. “It was wonderful to see how people could come together over distance, from different backgrounds, meet for the first time, and grow together into such cohesive teams.”
This is Athabasca University’s third time competing in the competition and the first time placing. For the students, the distance was not a barrier to competing but gave them an edge.
“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,” said Christopher Miller. “One of the things about AU students is that they are self-motivated and know that nobody can deliver their outcomes except for themselves. This work ethic and training allowed the teams to get into motion quickly and deliver value-added ideas that resonated with the judges.”
Organizers thank all those who worked tirelessly to pull off the event, as well as the teams from across the province, who travelled to Edmonton to make the competition so memorable.
Participation in the Alberta Business Deans Case Competition is one of a number of activities engaged in by the Faculty of Business this year. Other activities of note this year will take place in months to come to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the MBA program. Stay tuned!
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. Thank you to Omar Nef and Penny Nilson from Toastmasters for helping to prepare our students during the practice session in January.