Concordia’s one-of-a-kind competition
Concordia is about to make history.
From March 12 to 16, the university is hosting the first-ever Engineering and Commerce Case Competition, an event that will see undergraduate engineering and commerce students from seven Canadian and three international schools tackle business problems designed to sharpen their leadership and communication skills.
The competition — organized by students from the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science and the John Molson School of Business (JMSB) — is about more than proving who’s best.
“Interdisciplinary collaboration is a crucial foundation for the kind of university-business partnerships we hope to encourage,” says competition president Emran Ghasemi. “Learning to function in teams of experts from more than one field will work to everyone’s advantage.”
Participating universities are sending teams of two engineering and two business students to solve three cases submitted by the competition’s corporate partners.
The cases may focus on problems businesses have confronted in the past or are presently facing. The teams will have several hours to develop solutions, which they will then present to a panel of engineers and business leaders. These plans will be judged not just on their engineering designs, business plans and strategies, but on how well these pieces fit together to form comprehensive packages.
A competition with big goals
In organizing the competition, Ghasemi — an industrial engineering student — and his fellow coordinators hope to play a part in Montreal’s resurgence as a centre of innovation.
“We want to have a hand in shaping our future in the city by finding ways to help businesses and educational institutions usher in the kind of innovations that will entice graduates to stay here.”
That goal impresses JMSB dean Steve Harvey. “I am very pleased to see this sort of cross-faculty collaboration between our university’s students,” he says. “Concordia has a proud history of student-run case competitions, and I am certain that this initiative will build on that legacy.”
Ghasemi was particularly inspired by a speech Concordia’s president Alan Shepard delivered to the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal last November. In it, Shepard called on the city to embrace a culture of innovation in which incubators can thrive.
“As future leaders, we want to realize this vision,” says Ghasemi. “We believe in this competition as a way of creating new approaches to real-world challenges.”
The Engineering and Commerce Case Competition takes place from Wednesday, March 12, to Sunday, March 16.