Preparing Students for the Business World: DeGroote Wins Prestigious Case Competition

February 14, 2023 | Hamilton, ON
Contributed by Meagan Keane, Communications Specialist

Four DeGroote MBA students, Tyler Boulanger, Ariel Gardner, Jechayni Khobalakrishnan and Sean Visser, travelled to Montreal in early January to participate in the 41st edition of the John Molson MBA International Case Competition. Five days later, after sweeping the competition, the team returned to DeGroote with the Concordia Cup.

The team believes their success came from a combination of confident presentation skills, diverse individual strengths and the backing of their incredible coach, Milena Head. “Dr. Head has a wealth of experience in case analysis and competitions, so her mentorship was integral to developing our team’s personal style and the mindset we needed to win,” says Boulanger.

Head passionately referred to the John Molson Case Competition as the “premier ‘World Cup’ event of MBA case competitions” due to its long history and prestigious reputation. The competition is widely recognized as the largest of its kind, and this year 36 schools were welcomed from 17 countries, with Team DeGroote being crowned champion.

Judged by more than 300 business executives, the competition is an amazing opportunity for participants to take their MBA education beyond the classroom and try something new. The experience pushes students to practice the critical thinking, problem solving, time management and presentation skills they will draw on in the next phase of their careers.

“The competition really showed me how to look at business situations, critically analyze them, and provide reasonable opportunities to take the business forward,” says Visser. “The number of participating industries and companies, the collaboration, the pressure and deadlines – I don’t think there is a single other MBA experience that could have better prepared me to take my academic skills and knowledge into the business world.”

How did the team come together to win each of their matches during the competition? Through collaboration and trust. Khobalakrishnan says the team built a strong foundation at the beginning of the term, and that helped the team members recognize and rely on their individual strengths for each case. Gardner agrees, saying “Teamwork was essential for the competition. Collaboration allowed us to leverage each other’s strengths, resolve conflicts, and foster an environment of trust.”

This collaborative approach allowed the team to produce amazing results that they were proud to present, while at the same time forming strong bonds with one another and having fun with the experience. The element of fun was encouraged by Head, who believes enjoyment is one of the most important elements for success in case competitions and beyond. “When students enjoy the journey, they are more creative, confident and compelling.”

For Head, bringing home the Concordia Cup is more than a celebration of her team’s success at the John Molson MBA Case Competition.

“It showcases to the world the incredible quality of DeGroote students and our MBA program. The team and I will never forget this experience, and I’m blessed to have shared in their journey.”

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