A case in point

Students strut stuff in 6th Case Competition
by Simon Twiston Davies
Concordia’s sixth annual MBA Case Competition could well have been the best entertainment in town at the end of last week. Each of the 16 teams, made up of MBA students from across the country, gave their assessment (as “consultants”) of the perils and pitfalls of some of the real problems which have faced big bucks big business in recent years.
The winners of the competition were the contestants from the University of Sherbrooke but that wasn’t so important as the way all the teams (including Concordia’s team comprising Irwin Rapkin, Line Rivard, Jacques Leduc and Lucy Nucciarone) gave their solutions to such mind benders as how Air Canada should tackle the problems presented by possible deregulation and whether Redpath Sugar should go into partnership with Labbatt’s to market a new sugar substitute.
Starting on Jan. 21, the teams, dressed in their best corporate armour, gave their analyses publicly to the juries made up of senior executives from high profile firms like CP Rail, CN, The Bank of Nova Scotia and Bombardier. The final case last Saturday involved finalists The University of Sherbrooke, The University of Alberta and The University of Ottawa. In all, four cases were assessed by the teams over the three days.
Concordia had done well but didn’t quite scrape into the final.
The problem which the three sets of “consultants” in the final had to face was whether a smallish commercial lettuce grower in Ontario should expand or not and what sort of means he should use to finance such an expansion.
At a gala dinner at the downtown Sheraton Centre the winners were announced and presentations made to the three finalists of scholarships worth $1,000, $1,500 and $2,000.
Afterwards student organizer Laure Abadi said of this year’s $30,000 competition: “Despite the odds, everything ended up going very smoothly. However, everything which could have gone wrong, went wrong at the beginning; a snow storm and one of the teams backed out because two of the members were in the hospital.”
In the end the organizers provided an ad hoc team which contained one member from UBC who had come to observe. No doubt he will report back favourably to UBC, and they will be sending a full complement next year.