Making their case
John Molson School of Business (JMSB) case competition teams are on a roll and the timing couldn’t be better. Teams at the undergraduate level are getting ready for a very busy January after three podium finishes in the last month. They have placed second in their last three competitions.
“We’ve had a very successful year so far,” says head coach and Advisor, Undergraduate Competition Program, Mark Haber. “We have been to seven competitions and have had four overall podium finishes along with six individual trophies.”
Undergraduate teams will spend the next month preparing for two of the year’s biggest competitions: Queen’s University’s Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (ICBC) and the Jeux du commerce (JDC), hosted this year by Université Laval.
The ICBC is generally regarded as the premier undergraduate case competition in North America. The final round, to be held from January 5 to 7, features schools from all over the world competing in eight categories: accounting, business policy, debate, ethics, finance, human resources, marketing and management information systems. With JMSB teams competing in six of those categories, Concordia will be the most represented university at the competition.
“This is a record entry and we’re very excited about our chances,” says Haber. “The crunch is on to do a lot of prep over the holidays to ensure that the teams be will prepared. We’re gearing up for success in the new year.”
Matthew Fishman, one of the many coaches who worked with the JMSB teams vying for a spot in the final round, explained that simply getting through the preliminary round is a noteworthy achievement. “Qualifying for the finals is incredibly difficult. The fact that JMSB has won the right to compete in so many categories is a testament to the calibre of the students involved in the program.”
Historically, Concordia has done well at the ICBC. Last year’s delegation brought home two gold medals and a silver, and JMSB has never returned from the competition empty-handed.
Fishman has now turned his attention from coaching to competing. He is involved in JMSB’s MBA case competitions, which is also enjoying a successful and busy period. His team was one of 60 that submitted a first-round assignment in the University of Colorado’s Leeds Business School Net Impact Competition, and one of 20 to move on to the final round, which will be held in February. The competition focuses on cases that involve businesses facing sustainability challenges. It is the most prestigious event of its kind.
Tim Field, the faculty advisor to the MBA case competitions, explains that Fishman’s participation at both the undergraduate and MBA levels demonstrates the “bond between competition alumni. These folks continue to give back each year by guest judging and coaching teams. Their involvement helps our program grow.”
According to Field, the objective of a case competition is to teach students to “provide realistic business solutions to complex problems. Winning at competitions is just a bonus. The experience students receive and the opportunity to develop an international network is the real goal.”
During his speech at the 2011 Dean’s Awards, JMSB’s Interim Dean Alan Hochstein acknowledged Haber and Field’s dedication to practical business education and congratulated them on the impressive results of their teams this year. “Their efforts have helped our students reach enviable levels of success and their devotion to the case competition program over the years has been extraordinary.”
If their performance this autumn is any indication, 2012 promises to be another remarkable year for Concordia’s case competition teams.
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