Concordia University

The 2018 Engineering and Commerce Case Competition: ‘Be ready for anything’

Judge and business leader Phil Cole shares his tips for success at the student-powered event on March 6 at Concordia
February 26, 2018
By Sarah Chabli and Ellen Fong

Student members of the 2018 Engineering Case Competition Executive Team. Student members of the 2018 Engineering Case Competition Executive Team.

Sarah Chabli is a third-year industrial engineering student and president of the 2018 Engineering and Commerce Case Competition at Concordia. Ellen Fong is a fourth-year human resource management student serving as vice-president internal for the competition.

Starting March 6, the Engineering and Commerce Case Competition (ENGCOMM) at Concordia will bring together 14 teams of engineering and commerce students from academic institutions around the world.

The teams will have five days to take on three challenging cases.

To find out what it takes to win, we sat down with board member and judge Phil Cole.

Cole is vice-president of business development with Marinvent Corporation. He has judged and sponsored the event for the last two years, and even offered internships to engineers in the top performing teams.

‘I see young people turn into professionals’

This is the third year you have been involved with ENGCOMM, what’s the appeal for you?

Phil Cole (PC): The ENGCOMM competition is my favourite week of the year. I take the full week off regular work and stay in the hotel where the event is hosted. It’s an incredible experience; the atmosphere is amazing and the energy is just incredible.

Over the course of that week, I see a group of nervous young people grow into professionals. Teams are producing solutions to cases that are spot-on with what is currently being done in industry.

In fact, last year’s winning team presented a strategy for an urban air taxi that was very similar to a product launched by Airbus the day after. It was incredible.


What made you offer internships to the engineering students on the finalist teams?

PC: At Marinvent Corporation we are a company of engineers. We all have technical training, and we all have to do our jobs knowing how we fit into the bigger picture of the organization.

So, when looking at the finalists last year, it really wasn’t just about the detailed technical solution, as much as it was finding engineers that can cross over into the business disciplines.

Nothing is done purely by engineering, so I need to know my employees can work as part of a multi-disciplinary team and keep their heads under pressure. At ENGCOMM I get to see first-hand how someone will react in an industry setting, because the competition creates a very representative environment.

How do you suggest students prepare for success at this year’s ENGCOMM?

PC: There are three things I would tell someone taking part in this year’s competition: First, be ready for anything and go in with an open mind. You’ll be surprised by what you can learn in a short amount of time.

Second, put aside shyness. As engineers, we tend to be introverts. But if you can connect with your teammates and other participants, the experience will be that much more rewarding. This competition requires real team work.

Finally, it’s all about hard work, you will get out of it what you put into this competition. Work with your team, challenge yourself and you will have an amazing time.

The winners of this year’s competition will be announced at the closing ceremonies on Saturday, March 10, and on social media.

Register to attend the final presentations of Concordia’s Engineering and Commerce Case Competition on Saturday, March 10 at 1:30 p.m., in the Henry F. Hall Building (1455 de Maisonneuve W), Sir George Williams Campus. Everyone is welcome!


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