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Judy Jayasuriya Standing with a Trophy in front of a set of five flags

Judy Jayasuriya [BComm(Hons)/10, BA/12, MBA/14]

International Honour for Case Coach Judy Jayasuriya

Asper’s Experiential Learning Lead receives J. Pierre Brunet Coach Award

February 7, 2023 — 

During case competitions, coaches work with teams of students, offering their guidance and expertise while they prepare for the event. As the competition progresses, teams often receive a live case to solve onsite. Once the team has taken this case to the preparation room, coaches cannot offer any more advice, their job seemingly complete.

Coaching, however, extends far beyond the competition itself.

Judy Jayasuriya [BComm(Hons)/10, BA/12, MBA/14], Lead of Experiential Learning at the Asper School of Business, received the J. Pierre Brunet Coach Award at the 2023 John Molson MBA International Case Competition (ICC) in recognition of her contributions to the case competition experience. The award is granted to an advisor who demonstrates excellent mentorship and a commitment to working with their fellow coaches and organizers to better the competition. Jayasuriya is the first Asper coach and one of only a few women to win this international award. The Asper community is proud to celebrate her achievement.

As Lead of Experiential Learning, Jayasuriya enriches business education at Asper. Her work with case competitions begins far before teams are formed and prepared cases are distributed. She is an advocate for the case competition experience, inspiring enthusiastic participation from students and motivating talented teams to tackle prestigious, high-level competitions. Jayasuriya is actively elevating Asper on the case competition circuit on the road and now at home, leading the first ever Asper Leadership Case Competition coming to UM this month.

Dr. Bruno Silvestre, Dean of the I. H. Asper School of Business, recognizes this important achievement and observes the impact of Jayasuriya’s mentorship:

“I am pleased to congratulate Judy on this well-deserved win! Case competitions bring together a community that embraces creative problem solving and understands the value of the case experience in business education. The recognition that Judy has received from this community is fitting, given the contributions she has made to student success here at Asper. Her leadership has impacted students greatly and contributed to many exciting wins for our undergraduate and graduate teams.”

Jayasuriya has coached several Asper teams to success, including a milestone win this year at the Grossman School of Business in Vermont. When her students speak of her influence, however, they recall more than a trophy or first-place finish.

Lauren Slegers [BComm(Hons)/22] has worked with Jayasuriya as a student and a Case Competition Coordinator at Asper. She highlights Jayasuriya’s adaptability: “What makes Judy such a strong coach is her ability to continuously adjust her teaching style to reflect the ever-evolving case competition landscape. The qualities that make a winning presentation or team change often, and the best coaches are the ones who pivot to follow these changes.” 

During his MBA, Angus Cheung [MBA/22] worked with Jayasuriya in multiple competitions, including the 2022 John Molson ICC. He said Jayasuriya inspires students to excel.

“Judy brings a level of tempered tenacity to her coaching that extracts the best out of everyone that she works with,” said Cheung. “She asks the hard questions that guide students to learning through critical thinking without spoon-feeding them the answer.”

As a coach, Jayasuriya demonstrates her commitment to experiential learning. She does not teach solutions, but rather trains students how to solve problems and develop a methodology—as individuals and members of a team.

Arly Akerstream [MBA/17] took Jayasuriya’s case competition course as an MBA student and has since coached with Jayasuriya in over 20 competitions. She describes the richness of Jayasuriya’s teaching:

“She prides herself on continuous and honest feedback, and it is this mentality and her unwavering commitment that makes the student experience so transformational. She believes that true growth occurs at the end of one’s comfort zone and has mastered the art of keeping students at this boundary to help perpetuate their growth.”

In response to this award, Jayasuriya is quick to emphasize the importance of community support from Asper and beyond.

“I’m deeply honored to be recognized by my international colleagues. This is an incredible community of faculty advisors who work to enhance the student experience, so the honor is particularly special to me,” said Jayasuriya. “I would not be able to do the work that I do without the support of the school. Thank you very much for prioritizing this experiential learning opportunity and your commitment to our case competition program.”

Jayasuriya demonstrates that coaching takes place beyond the bounds of a competition. Her win, supported by a community of faculty advisors, coaches, alumni and judges from the international stage to the Drake Centre, also demonstrates that coaching is far from an individual endeavour. At Asper, we recognize and thank this community while celebrating the success of Judy Jayasuriya, an outstanding coach.

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