July 12, 2019

A year of case competitions: Students tackle business challenges, build momentum at home and around the world

Competitions have become integral part of student experience and culture at Haskayne School of Business
Haskayne undergraduate students won the Guelph Undergraduate Real Estate Case Competition in Toronto Haskayne School of Business

Haskayne School of Business students are making an impact in the case competition world and the numbers are impressive.

During the 2018-19 academic year, Haskayne students participated in over 40 case competitions in 16 different locations worldwide. Last year alone, there were more than 500 total opportunities for students to roll up their sleeves and tackle business challenges.

  • Photo above: Haskayne undergraduate students won the Guelph Undergraduate Real Estate Case Competition in Toronto — a first for the faculty. Photos courtesy the Haskayne School of Business

Beyond travelling the world, meeting like-minded business students and representing Haskayne, those who participate are building skills that will benefit them long after they complete their studies. Presentation skills, strategic thinking and working in teams are just a few of the things they’ll carry forward into their careers.

For MBA student Mahwash Waqar, participating in case competitions allowed her to apply her classroom knowledge. “Case competitions can be high-pressure environments but they’re a great experiential learning opportunity,” she says. “They’ve also given me a glimpse into international business environments and an opportunity to showcase what the Haskayne MBA program has to offer.”

Preparation and success begins right here at home

Success starts with hours of planning, practising and preparation right here in Calgary.

“The passion we see from our students sets the tone for their entire journey. In addition to their normal course load, students are spending countless hours preparing on their own time,” says veteran case competition coach and Haskayne instructor Cam Welsh. “They do an incredible job of representing Haskayne and their specific concentrations.”

Strong Haskayne teams are a result of recruitment efforts from coaches and mentors, word of mouth between students and the opportunity to participate in internal case competitions. In both the fall and winter semesters, the Canadian Centre for Advanced Leadership in Business (CCAL) hosted an internal ethics case competition. The challenge offered a chance for undergraduate students of all years of study to give it a try in a supportive environment. The interest and excitement from students was clear: between both semesters, more than 180 students participated.

Robert Schulz, right, coached Haskayne EMBA students for Innovation Olympics

Haskayne School of Business

Where in the world are Haskayne students?

Haskayne students, mentors and coaches went globetrotting in pursuit of first-place finishes this year. Students attended competitions in locations across North America and overseas including Toronto, Vancouver, Cambridge, New York City, Tucson, Budapest and Rotterdam.

The CFA Research Challenge – Prairies Competition was held in Calgary this year and Haskayne sent two talented finance teams. Guided by associate professor Dr. Ari Pandes, PhD, instructor Thomas Holloway and mentors Steven Paget and Steven Kim, one of these teams placed first overall. This was the second year in a row a Haskayne team won the competition.

Their next stop was the Big Apple for the CFA Research Challenge – Americas Competition where the team went head-to-head with some fiercely competitive schools and made their mark in New York City. The team made it to the semi-final round.

MBA and Executive MBA students also had a strong showing at competitions this academic year. Haskayne graduate students regularly compete in the world’s largest innovation consulting competition, Innovation Olympics. This year, 25 students on five different teams worked virtually to solve problems for large global companies including Aera Shell, LeoPharma, Trelleborg and Desicare. Haskayne boasted three first-place finishes this academic year.

Real estate students rise to the challenge

Earlier this year, the Westman Centre for Real Estate Studies hosted an inaugural internal case competition. The objective was to bring together UCalgary students with an interest in real estate and provide them with an opportunity to tackle local real estate challenges. The event, which is scheduled to happen again in 2020, was a huge success — more than 40 students applied, 16 students participated and over 30 industry supporters devoted their time to mentor students and judge presentations.

The Westman Centre also sent a team to the highly competitive Guelph Undergraduate Real Estate Case Competition in Toronto, Ont. Participants were tasked with drafting a development proposal for a four-acre site located in a high growth area in the Studio District of Toronto. The team of undergraduate students won first place — beating out the Ivey School of Business (Western University), Wharton School of Business (University of Pennsylvania) and SC Johnson College of Business (Cornell University) to take home the top prize of $10,000. It was the first time Haskayne has won the competition.

Follow along with Haskayne’s case competition journey using the hashtag #HaskayneCompetes or by connecting on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.

Haskayne students travelled to New York City this spring for the CFA Research Challenge – Americas.

Haskayne School of Business