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(L to R) Daniel Kokan, Leanne Huberdeau, Aditya Kedia, Judith Jayasuriya, Elliot Codispodi, Kaushal Patel

Family enterprise case competition a milestone win for Asper

Stu Clark Graduate School team wins big in Vermont

January 23, 2023 — 

The I. H. Asper School of Business is celebrating an exciting milestone with our first international graduate case competition victory. Stu Clark Graduate School student team, Vanguard Consulting,   represented by MBA students Daniel Kokan, Elliot Codispodi, Lianne Huberdeau and Kaushal Patel placed first at the Schlesinger Global Family Enterprise Case Competition. In addition to Vanguard Consulting’s impressive team showing, team member Lianne Huberdeau was awarded best graduate presenter during the final round of competition.

Hosted by the Grossman School of Business, the event took place in Vermont from January 11 to 14, featuring 19 teams from 12 countries. Four challenging rounds of competition tested participants’ ability to solve complex issues unique to family enterprise.

The Asper graduate team placed first in their division to advance to the finals, tackling cases that touched on multigenerational family business structure, pandemic safety and shifts in leadership. The team’s succession plan for their third case secured them a spot in the finals, where they competed against strong teams from internationally renowned institutions including Escola Superior d’Administració i Direcció d’Empreses Business School (ESADE) from Spain, Jönköping International Business School from Sweden and the Indian School of Business (ISB), the top-ranked research institution in India.

Award recipient Huberdeau said the team’s trajectory is a result of preparation and perseverance.

“We were the underdog, coming in second for the first two rounds, but we knew that we had put in the work, practiced extensively and were as ready as we could be. When we entered the finals, we felt like we’d already won.” – Lianne Huberdeau

With steep competition in the finals, the team devised a strategic solution that built upon their first case on the Cartoni family, owners of Antigal Wine. They presented a united strategy for market expansion that stunned the judges and led them to the top of the podium.

This win is also celebrated by Asper Faculty Advisors Judy Jayasuriya [MBA/14] and Arly Akerstream [MBA/17] as well as the team coaches, Bhaumik Ghandi [MBA/19], Aditya Kedia [MBA/18] and Trevor Lewarne [MBA/19], whose outstanding support was instrumental to the team’s success. Volunteer judges Anna Gilfillan [MBA/23], Raymond Franczuk [MBA/22], Nick Gamble [MBA/22], Matthew Stephens [MBA/19], Lukas Neville, Eden Sorrell [MBA/23], Tara Chawla [MBA/20], Carlos Kan [MBA/19] and Sara Rusak [MBA/19] also offered valuable guidance to the team throughout the competition.

The Schlesinger Global Family Enterprise Case Competition is the world’s largest case competition dedicated entirely to family enterprise. Dr. Bruno Silvestre, Dean of the I. H. Asper School of Business and CPA Manitoba Chair in Business Leadership celebrates this victory, recognizing the significance of a strong showing by Asper students in this field:

“Congratulations Vanguard Consulting and thank you to our dedicated advisors and coaches on your well-earned win. Family enterprise is a crucial area of business that requires students to understand and navigate how family operations are embedded in specific, complex histories and emotions. This win reflects Asper’s commitment to preparing business students for their future careers and demonstrates our expertise here in Manitoba, where family enterprise is a cornerstone of the economy.”

The team’s attendance at this event was possible thanks to the generous donations of the Senft family and the Senft Family Fund in the Advancement of the Study of Family Business. Beyond the excitement of a first-place finish, this event also demonstrates the impact of Asper and UM alumni supporting future leaders. Rod Senft [BComm(Hons)/67, LLB/70], Chairman of Tricor Pacific Capital, has a keen interest in family business and made a significant contribution to the team—a gesture they met with sincere gratitude.

Team members Kokan, Codispodi, Huberdeau and Patel identify the value of engaging with concerns specific to family enterprise and the role of case competitions in their professional development. “The opportunity to tackle real-world family business challenges acting as a consulting team allowed us to apply the theories and fundamental business skills we’ve been developing in our time at Asper. By working as a team and combining our knowledge and strengths, we were able to create realistic, viable, and innovative solutions that are immediately actionable for our clients.”

This win represents more than a milestone first for the Stu Clark Graduate School and the I. H. Asper School of Business. It demonstrates the value of community-building that experiential learning opportunities can facilitate, cultivate and nurture.

 “The strength and support of the Asper community ensures that we can develop as successful leaders that can potentially pay it forward to build a tradition of excellence together,” said Codispodi.

The I. H. Asper School of Business is proud to celebrate this latest entry into that tradition of excellence.

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