Asper BComm student wins first prize at international case competition in Mexico
Avery Groeneveld advocates for experiential learning and transformative teamwork
Asper School of Business BComm student Avery Groeneveld brought home gold for the school during fall case season.
Hosted by Universidad Panamericana in Guadalajara, Mexico, the Business and Management Case Competition (BMCC) includes a unique “mixed team” round where students from around the world get to test their mettle and case skills alongside their peers, navigating new perspectives, approaches and roles.
“We were split into teams with other students we had only just met, and then we had four hours to come up with a seven-minute pitch presentation,” says Groeneveld.
The first step, she explains, was figuring out what role each new teammate would play. While Asper students train and are coached together to highlight individual and group strengths, adapting was a necessity in a mixed case.
Groeneveld observed that her usual role in strategy was overrepresented on her new team, so she had to pivot.
“I’m always open to doing new things and continuously learning, so I pivoted and offered to take on the opening. I had to get the audience’s attention and make a strong first impression, and it was a great experience!”
The judges agreed, and she and her team won first prize for their pitch.
For Groeneveld, the win is exciting, but it’s the learning opportunity that really stands out.
Choosing a path
As a BComm student and emerging professional, Groeneveld has come to greatly value this kind of experiential learning. She started her degree with high academic motivations, focused on putting forth a strong GPA and excelling in coursework.
“That first year was great because I gained an amazing foundation and put in the work to earn high marks, but I didn’t get very involved as a student or connect with my peers. At the end of my first year, COVID lockdowns hit, and those opportunities suddenly looked very different.”
In the absence of in-person opportunities to connect, she got involved any way that she could, joining the Asper First-Year Case Competition without any prior experience, and leveraging networking opportunities like the Asper Career Fair and support from the Career Development Centre to secure internships at Steinbach Credit Union and BDO.
To new students, she suggests, “Don’t be afraid to make a choice because you think it’s going to be the wrong one. The only way you can make decisions is by gaining experience and trying things out. There’s nothing wrong with experiencing a hurdle and having to pivot, or making the ‘wrong choice.’”
She offers her major as an example. In her second summer as a student, she completed two internships: one in accounting at BDO and one in finance at Steinbach Credit Union. She hoped to choose one path by the end of the summer, aiming to understand her suitability in each field by gaining that practical experience.
“Of course, you can Google ‘what’s the difference between accounting and finance,’ or study the textbook definitions, but what mattered more was determining what each field meant for me, my goals and my skills,” she says.
“For me, finance meant being in a bank, using my communication and analytical problem-solving skills and connecting with people. Even though I had an amazing experience at BDO, I had my answer by the summer’s end and decided to pursue finance.”
The value of competition
Now in her final year, completing a double major in finance and leadership and serving as Commerce Students’ Association (CSA) advocacy representative, Groeneveld reflects on the impact of experiential learning and the excitement of more case opportunities.
“Case competitions teach you how to listen to other people, to collaborate in an honest way. You learn so much by viewing things outside of your own perspective, all while your own perspective expands.
“There’s never going to be a position in the corporate world where you’re not working on a team.”
For Groeneveld, there is a practical and personal benefit to the Asper case experience: mixing competition with collaboration and producing solutions that do more than compromise—they transform perspectives and inspire possibilities.
Case competitions can take you around the world, from Lithuania to Thailand, all while strengthening your public speaking and problem-solving skills and sharpening your business acumen. For more information on upcoming case competitions, read more here.