Biz competition moves to the mainstream
By Sandra Dimitrakopoulos
The Richard Ivey School of Business Adminstration is once again showing they know how to translate school curriculum into useable real-world knowledge.
Traditionally, the honours business administration program has provided students the opportunity to volunteer their time and skills in an internal case competition, but all that has changed.
As of this year, the HBA internal case competition is now part of the program's curriculum for all first-year HBA students and was implemented by Michael Pearce, the program's director, along with other business faculty.
"Primarily we did this because it offers a valuable learning experience and sends a clear signal that this is something that the business school believes in," Pearce said.
He added the objective of this change was not only to create competition but also to increase the competency students feel.
The competition, involving 24 teams, is being sponsored by the Boston Consulting Group and will run from Feb. 12-14. All 24 six-person teams will compete in four rounds the first three of which are judged by teachers and senior students, said Geoff Herzog, chair of the competition. The fourth round will include second-year HBA volunteers, he added.
Herzog said after the four preliminary rounds, the top two first-year teams and the top second-year team will then go on to compete in a final round to be judged by Western alumni from BCG. The winner will receive both a trophy and monetary prize of $1,000 from BCG.
All students involved are under intense time constraints where business case studies have to be solved and presented within a three-hour period, Pearce said. "There is a greater emphasis on content rather than presentation," Pearce added.
Out of the six members in the group, one person acts as an observer to both competing teams and can report their observations to both teams, leaving the other five members the task of actually presenting the case, Pearce explained.
Herzog said the benefits students will get from such an event involve using skills considered essential not only in the program but also in the business world."The competition is designed to teach students analytical, presentation and group skills," he said.
Herzog added this opportunity should be viewed as an extension of classroom activities where the case study method is the main teaching tool.