Eight Mount Allison University Commerce students took home top honours at the Atlantic Throwdown case competition held at Dalhousie University this spring.
The Mount Allison teams — all members of University’s newly-formed Case Study Club — earned first and second place at the regional competition.
Case study competitions give students the opportunity to put to the test all of the knowledge they’ve gained in the classroom. In just three hours, a team of four must read a detailed description of a business scenario, analyze the situation, develop a solution, and present their recommendations to a panel of judges.
Sam Jay, a third-year student on the first-place team, says the experience was an amazing opportunity and gave him a fresh, motivating perspective on how business works.
“It has presented the competitive nature of business to me,” he says, “which is one of the main things I loved about it. I would describe the experience as being part of a hockey team, and at the same time furnishing professional business skills.”
Jay and the other students who participated in the Atlantic Throwdown can thank graduating student Brian Tulle for the chance to build on their academic knowledge in a competitive arena. Tulle organized the Case Study Club on campus this year after hearing a new hire at Deloitte talk about how case study work played a key role in preparing her for her job search and consulting career.
Starting in late January, Tulle and nine other students began meeting with Dr. Dawn Henwood, the Ron Joyce Centre’s Manager of Experiential Learning, to take their course exposure to case studies to the next level.
“Case studies demand so many skills from students,” Henwood explains. “To quickly create a viable solution to a case, students have to become experts at reading critically, following a problem-solving process, using analytical frameworks and tools, managing time, working as a team, and delivering a persuasive presentation. With the strong academic foundation our students have, they’re well-positioned to develop mastery in each of these areas and think their way through complex business problems.”
After completing a four-week Case Study Boot Camp, eight students participated in an on-campus trial competition on March 17. At that event, they received insightful feedback from a panel of judges, which included Dr. Judith Holton, head of the Commerce department.
The rookies took that feedback to heart and used it to improve their performance dramatically. Just a week later, they surprised themselves by beating out 12 other teams from across Canada in their very first competition.
After Tulle graduates in May, three returning students will lead the Case Study Club forward: Sam Jay, Kennedy Pope, and Alexandra Blades. All three are excited about the opportunities that await them.
“The skills I have learned through this case competition journey will be so beneficial to my studies, work and life in general in the future — and hopefully to more case competitions next year,” says Blades.
Photo caption: Mount A students claiming first and second place at the Atlantic Throwdown Business Case Competition. From left to right: Alexandra Blades, Jenna MacLellan, Sam Jay, Kennedy Pope, Brian Tulle, Dana Underhill, Nicholas Hunt, and Tim Baljet.