German team takes gold at our MBA Case

But the Concordia team wins at McMaster University

[img_assist|nid=863|title=|desc=Concordia’s MBA case competition team. Seated, from left, are Devon Cruickshank and coach Tim Field. Behind them are Steffen Hartleib, Isabelle Larue, Noor Shawwa and Chantal Gosselin. (photo: Christian Fleury)|link=none|align=right|width=400|height=327]The Concordia team didn’t make it to the semi-finals in the Concordia MBA International Case Competition, held Jan. 7 to 12 in Montreal, but virtually the same team won $10,000 in another competition held at McMaster University, in Hamilton, Ont.

Munster University, of Germany, came first in the Concordia competition. Second place went to Helsinki School of Economics (Finland) and third to Northeastern University (USA).

The Concordia competition, now in its 21st year, brought 22 teams of business students from schools around the world to Montreal for a round-robin competition. Teams argue for the best way of solving business problems, called cases, under severe time constraints, and the winners are judged by seasoned business executives from the Montreal area.

Although the Case Competition has been held for a number of years at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, renovations are going on there, so the event was held for the first time at the Hilton Bona venture. It was a great choice, said student organizer Cristina Franco. “Participants really liked the new hotel, and in terms of logistics, the hotel was perfect, with meeting space in one floor.”

“We also had, for the first time, simultaneous translation of the finals. However, only English-speaking teams advanced to the finals and so there was not much demand for the translation receivers. This measure was taken because last year, Laval advanced to the finals, and later on won the competition, and many teams complained that they were not able to understand the winning team’s presentation.”

Every year, the organizers arrange for a “live case,” an actual business challenge presented by an executive of the company. This year’s choice was the Quebec engineering giant SNC Lavalin, presenting issues on privatization of infrastructure.

The competition wasn’t all work. The students enjoyed a Hollywood-theme costume party, a night out at the good old hockey game, and several cocktail receptions hosted by corporate sponsors, and a closing awards banquet, with prizes that included Air Canada tickets anywhere in the world.

The Concordia team who competed in Montreal comprised Devon Cruikshank, Noor Shawwa, Isabelle Larue and Chantal Gosselin. Only a week later, the Concordia team, with Hartleib replacing Larue, who was out of town, competed in the first annual case competition held by the Michael G. DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University, January 14 to 16, in Hamilton, and won first prize, taking home $10,000 in prize money.

Dean Jerry Tomberlin was delighted. “Our team’s strong finish is a reflection of the strength of our MBA program and the quality of the students. I am very proud of their achievement.

“A case competition really tests students’ ability to think on their feet, using the skills that they have developed to come up with creative, targeted responses to real business challenges.”

DeGroote is the business school. The competition drew seven teams from across Canada. A panel of six business people acted as judges. The anonymity of the teams was maintained throughout the competition until the final awards ceremony.