PEI

'It felt awesome': UPEI business students win at business case competition

UPEI students have won two of the top spots in the recent Inter-Collegiate Business Competition, an national business case contest, taking first and third places in marketing and ethics divisions, respectively.

'We were super proud of the students'

UPEI students Hannah Dawson (seated), Cullen Mullally (centre) and Harrison Wood recently wowed the judges at a national competition. (Angela Walker/CBC)

UPEI students have won two of the top spots in the recent Inter-Collegiate Business Competition, a national business case contest, taking first and third places in marketing and ethics divisions, respectively.

Four students took part in the long-running competition at Queens University in Kingston, Ont.

"We were super proud of the students," said Mary Whitrow, the program co-ordinator for case competitions, calling it a "huge success." 

"It's a really big deal because there's so many teams that try out, because it's such a well-known competition," said Whitrow. "And to even make it to the final round is a feat in itself."

Only the top six teams in each division make it to the competition, she added — UPEI's teams qualified in marketing and ethics in October. 

A business case is a written, in-depth description of a real-life company and its actual situation including strategic and market challenges and opportunities, UPEI's website states.

'Hands-on experience'

During the competition, teams of two students are isolated in rooms and given never-before-seen business cases to analyze, focusing on one of eight areas including marketing, ethics and financing, all within a five-and-a-half hour time limit. The students then present their solutions to a panel of judges, and must answer questions.

"It gives you a chance to put into practice all of the business concepts that you're learning about," said Hannah Dawson, a fourth-year marketing student who was a repeat member of UPEI's team. "And get some hands-on experience that looks pretty good on a resume too!" 

 A tough situation

"We actually had a really tough situation in our case that we got in the final round," said student Harrison Wood of the ethical dilemma presented to he and fellow team member Kate Kinsman.

"It was based on a company that thought they'd found a cure to Parkinson's Disease. And then we were given theory on reasons why big pharmaceutical companies may or may not hide the fact that they would have a cure to diseases."

Some of those reasons could be capitalizing on drug sales to treat diseases, Wood explained. 

The students must not only apply the theory they're learning in class, but must do so under time constraints, presenting their findings clearly and being able to to defend their positions to judges. 

'Builds a lot of confidence'

"You get to network with students in your field of study that are interested in the same things you are," said Wood, an accounting major who was excited to talk with students from Toronto to Sydney, Australia, about their studies and career paths. 

"Being able to measure yourself against some of these bigger schools and really do well against them builds a lot of confidence for us," said team member Cullen Mullally, a fourth-year finance major. 

"It felt awesome to win," said Dawson. 

With files from Mainstreet P.E.I.