“AI and the wave of mass innovation”: Canada’s Next Top Ad Exec partners with Microsoft

February 27, 2019 | Hamilton
Contributed by Emilie Suwala, Communications Intern

“What Canada’s Next Top Ad Exec represents is truly extraordinary, as it offers student-industry-faculty engagement that reshapes learning in unexpected ways,” says DeGroote Professor Mandeep Malik

Microsoft Canada Inc. has partnered with the DeGroote School of Business as the lead learning partner for the thirteenth season of Canada’s Next Top Ad Exec (CNTAE).

Looking to establish Microsoft as a thought leader in artificial intelligence, student teams were asked to develop a marketing strategy and execution campaign that will increase the awareness of Microsoft’s AI platforms to educational institutions, students and communities across Canada, fueling the next wave of mass innovation.

Tejasvi Kamath, this year’s chair and a fifth-year Commerce student at DeGroote, is excited by the prospects of this partnership. “With the changing business environment, this is a step in the right direction for Canada’s Next Top Ad Exec as it prepares students to recognize the upcoming trends and challenges as they begin to enter the workforce,” says Kamath.

“I see a lot of value in the education and awareness of AI, and it is exciting to be part of an opportunity that will help bring awareness to the possibilities related to applying AI in the business environment.”

This year, students are competing to win a grand prize of $25,000, as well as, a $1,000 prize awarded to the Top 25 entrants. Competing students have the chance to score career opportunities with CNTAE learning partners PepsiCo, Canadian Tire, McDonald’s, Labatt and FujiFilm. The competition has awarded over $500,000 in prizes over the past thirteen years and led to several career opportunities for students with high profile employers such as: Canadian Tire, PepsiCo, Canada Post and many more.

Canada’s Next Top Ad Exec was born out of the simple idea of bridging the gap between the classroom and industry. Beginning in 2005, DeGroote Associate Professor Mandeep Malik, along with students, created the competition with the hope of providing an opportunity for undergraduate and MBA students to “break into the industry.” With over 28 participating business schools, Canada’s Next Top Ad Exec is Canada’s largest marketing competition.

“What Canada’s Next Top Ad Exec represents is truly extraordinary, as it offers student-industry-faculty engagement that reshapes learning in unexpected ways,” says Malik. “For more than a decade, the competition has allowed students to step out of the classroom, apply their knowledge and skills, and open doors in their careers.”

The competition is structured in three stages, phase one ended on January 22. Submitting a two-page elevator pitch, 184 teams from 28 Canadian universities, outlined their big idea to meet Microsoft’s marketing objectives. From the pool of 184 the top 25 submissions were selected as semi-finalists and announced earlier this month.

One team in the semi-finalist pool included a student from McMaster University, Harminder Kang. Harminder, and his partner Harjot Grewal, from Schulich School of Business, submitted their comprehensive marketing report along with the rest of the semi-finalists on February 25.

The top 10 submissions will spend a five day weekend in downtown Toronto where they will present their big ideas to pristine judges including faculty and industry leaders. The final presentation and awards gala will take place in Toronto at the InterContinental Hotel on April 1, 2019.

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