Case competition on campus gives students key business experience

By Costa Maragos Posted: May 1, 2017 11:00 a.m.

Jade Kerr (l) and Cyrena Lockert (r) from the Hill Business Students’ Society are campus co-chairs of the case competition.
Jade Kerr (l) and Cyrena Lockert (r) from the Hill Business Students’ Society are campus co-chairs of the case competition. Photo: External Relations

Dozens of Saskatchewan and Manitoba high school students are about to get a taste of the pressure-packed world of business case competitions.
The students will be competing at the sixth annual Saskatchewan Business Teachers’ Association Case Competition, hosted by the University of Regina, May 4 and 5.

“This is a great learning opportunity for the students and a great opportunity to get them interested in business,” says Jade Kerr, a third-year business student and member of the Hill Business Students' Society.

Kerr is co-chair of the event at the U of R with Cyrena Lockert, who is a fourth year business student.

Campbell Collegiate Case Competition Team 2017
The Campbell Collegiate Case Team (l-r ) Nudba Ismaeel, Muhammad Shaikh, Joanne Peng, Ryan Aird, Tanvi Pandya, Andriy Tkach, Noor Jahan, Shirley Jin and Noah Rainbow.

“The cases presented to the students will not be intimidating but will serve as an opportunity to help them figure things out while they are here,” says Lockert, who points out students don’t necessarily need a business background to compete. “For the students, just knowing they are all the same age and few at that age have the experience doing this.”

In a case competition, students usually work in teams of three. The teams try to come up with the best solution to a business-related challenge and do it within an allocated time frame. Students typically take the role of the decision maker, entrepreneur or consultant.

The students will be asked to present a business case in two categories: personal finance and entrepreneurship. Each team has up to three hours to deconstruct and then deliver a 15 minute presentation to a panel of industry professionals and university professors.   

So far 15 schools have entered teams from cities and communities including Regina, Saskatoon, Balgonie, Swift Current, Weyburn and Birtle, Manitoba.  

One of those schools is Regina’s Campbell Collegiate, which has won this competition four of the past five years.

“As a business educator, I feel that the case method of teaching and learning provides an excellent opportunity for students to immerse themselves in a business problem while taking on the role of the decision maker,” says Jorden McFarlen, who teaches business education at Campbell.

McFarlen graduated from the U of R’s Faculty of Education in 2010 with a major in business education and a minor in physical education.

“We have seen a strong increase in engagement and understanding through the use of cases in the Campbell Collegiate Business Program,” he says.

In addition to the competition, the event features keynote speaker Rachel Mielke, founder and CEO of Hillberg & Berk and a graduate of the U of R.

Also speaking at the event will be Jane Rooney who was appointed in 2014 by the Federal government as Canada’s Financial Literacy Leader. Rooney will talk about the importance of financial literacy for students.

The students have further incentive to compete.

The Hill School of Business at the U of R and the Edwards School of Business at the U of S are offering scholarships for the winning teams as well as secondary scholarship prize money.

The competition will be held at the Education Building May 4 and the finals will be at Campion College Auditorium, May 5 at 2 p.m.

“This case competition is a great indicator of just how talented the future innovators and entrepreneurs of the prairies are,” says McFarlen, who is helping organize the event for the Saskatchewan Business Teachers’ Association. “I would highly encourage the local community to come out and watch the final presentations.”

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