2013 MBA Case Competition Most International Ever

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Students from around the world will gather at the Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth Hotel on the evening of January 6 for the opening ceremonies of the 32nd annual John Molson MBA International Case Competition (MBA ICC). The intensive, week-long competition, which is the oldest and largest of its kind, begins in earnest the following morning.

Generally regarded as one of the most prestigious competitions on the circuit, the event is organized by MBA students of Concordia's John Molson School of Business (JMSB). ‚ÄúWe do not accept every school that applies,‚Äù says Simon Ainsworth, the JMSB finance student responsible for cases, marketing and volunteers. ‚ÄúThose that are accepted understand the prestige of the competition. These truly are some of the world’s brightest young business minds, performing under intense pressure. Watching these future business leaders present really is an impressive thing to witness.‚Äù

This year, 36 teams representing schools from 14 countries will compete to win the Concordia Cup and a $10,000 cash prize. Never has the competition had this much international representation. In addition to the 12 Canadian universities that will participate, seven American schools have signed on, as have 17 schools from outside of North America.

Attracting teams from abroad was a priority for the event organizers, says Ainsworth. “Increasing the international component was a goal for the team from day one. We have a global economy and the international component is one of the aspects that make MBA ICC unique. Our participants really find value in networking across borders at our competition.”

The competition follows a round-robin tournament format and culminates in a three-team final round on January 11. Participants will tackle cases focused on a variety of strategic management issues. The cases are selected from among the top entries to an annual case-writing competition held by the organizers.

The most anticipated moment of the competition is when the organizers announce the identity of a high-profile firm that will present a real business problem of its own for the competitors to handle. ‚ÄúThat is what I am most looking forward to,‚Äù says Ainsworth. ‚ÄúThe tension and excitement in the room before the announcement will be palpable. The company’s identity is kept top secret for months. Only the board and one organizer are aware of it before they are formally introduced at their presentation.

“The problem is real and no teaching note giving the right answer exists. The teams are therefore judged purely on how well they present their analysis and solutions,” he adds.

The team representing Concordia at the competition will be composed of JMSB MBA students Alain Readman Valiquette, Julia Khon, Matthew Fishman, Cedrin Law and Matthew Starek. They will be coached by Tim Field, a lecturer in JMSB's Department of Management and the Miriam Roland Fellow in Business Ethics.