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9 university teams put their investment strategies to the test at the Van Berkom JMSB Case Competition

The annual finance-focused showdown takes place at Concordia March 20 and 21
March 10, 2020

There are a number of case competitions available to Concordia students, but only one focuses on finance.

The ninth annual Van Berkom JMSB Small-Cap Case Competition (VBCC) takes place this month at the John Molson School of Business. On March 20 and 21, undergraduate- and graduate-level business students from across North America will put their knowledge to the test, applying their academic skills in a practical environment.

“We are very excited to note the competition’s growth and continued success,” says Amr Addas, VBCC director. “The quality of applications has steadily increased to the point where we are comfortable saying that this is the premier small-cap case competition in North America.”

In January, 27 teams who applied were given a week to complete their analysis of a case and submit their written applications. A panel of qualifying-round judges then selected the top nine teams to compete at Concordia later this month.

They are: Ivey Business School at Western University, Université Laval, Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary, University of Alberta School of Business, Smith School of Business at Queen's University, F. W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College in Massachusetts, Bishop's University, DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University and Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business at the University of Waterloo.

The students will be judged by top Montreal business and investment leaders on their ability to analyze financial business cases, as well as develop strategic solutions and recommendations.

“It allows participants to dive deep into the art and science of bottom-up stock picking and the pursuit of abnormal returns,” Addas explains. “It’s a unique way to approach valuation and a great complement to the theory students learn in the classroom.”

The 2020 organizing team: Amr Addas, Anza Khan, Pankajakshan Ramaswamy, Eda Tuzunatac, Catherine Zemelka The 2020 organizing team: Amr Addas, Anza Khan, Pankajakshan Ramaswamy, Eda Tuzunatac, Catherine Zemelka

The VBCC stands out from other case competitions because it is a finance-specific event that focuses on small-cap investment — investment in companies with relatively small market capitalization, which is the market value of its outstanding shares. 

The event spans two days and provides an opportunity for students to mingle with judges and others from the business community.

“The winners will be announced during our gala dinner at the conclusion of the second day,” Addas adds. “In recent years, this has become one of the main attractions and provides an opportunity for the teams, volunteers, judges and organizers to network and celebrate the success of another year.”

Last year’s VBCC welcomed nine teams from Canada, the United States and London, England. The winners, Bryce Cameron, Steven Nader, Hala Saoudi and Marcus Sickert, represented the Sprott School of Business from Carleton University.

Their performance set high expectations for this year’s competition. There is $6,000 in prize money on the line, with the winning team taking home half of that.

“Considering the quality of the submissions we received for the qualification case, I am confident that we will have an intense competition among nine closely matched teams this year,” Addas says. “It will be thrilling to see who comes out ahead.”

Find out more about the upcoming 
Van Berkom JMSB Small-Cap Case Competition, March 20 and 21.


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