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Photo by David Lipnowski

Second annual Asper Business Case Competition spotlights Manitoba businesses

Graduate students from across Canada visit Winnipeg and UM

February 28, 2024 — 

Nine graduate teams, representing business schools across Canada, convened in Winnipeg for the second annual Asper Business Case Competition. This year’s expanded competition offered unique business challenges and an exceptional networking opportunity for graduate students.

Case competitions test students’ business acumen, presentation skills and ability to think quickly. Teams present to judges as their own consulting firms, with strict rules in place to ensure that competitors do not reveal their affiliated school to the judging panel. 

Stellaris Consulting, represented by Asper students Nicole Buckle [BComm(Hons)/21], Tien Nguyen, Sravani Kalva and Pavan Palani took home first place, while Kate Melling, Jennifer Kotadia, Jaiveer Jawandha and Nithya Alagappan won second for the Haskayne School of Business and Abubakar Asif, Akshay Sharma, Anshul Chhahbra and Ajiteshwar Singh brought home third for the DeGroote School of Business.

Represented by Stu Clark Graduate School students, the home team connected with peers from top Canadian business schools and partook in some friendly competition digging into the cutting-edge issues faced by Manitoba businesses today.

Bruno Silvestre, Dean of the Asper School of Business, emphasizes the significance of case competitions to the Asper experience. “Case competitions are an integral part of the Asper School of Business, and a hallmark of our commitment to experiential learning. By giving students an opportunity to apply their in-class learning to real business problems, these competitions inspire creative and agile thinking, diverse leadership styles and innovative approaches to teamwork and collaboration. Through cases, students prepare to face the rapidly changing business environment wherever they study, work and live.”

The competition

In three rounds of competition (the first beginning before teams landed in Winnipeg), participating teams took on a prepared case on WAG-Qaumajuq, a boardroom case on Independent Jewelers (IJL) and a traditional case, complete with public final presentations, on StandardAero.

The cases were as diverse as their solutions, which required creativity and strong collaborative skills to solve. From planning for the national expansion of robust local business Independent Jewelers (IJL) to developing strategies for attracting top talent in the aviation sector to StandardAero, teams worked hard to craft, polish and present their solutions to distinguished judges. WAG-Qaumajuq, whose participation as a case subject was made possible thanks to the generous support of the James W. Burns Leadership Institute, gave students an opportunity to pitch new admission models that would make entry to the gallery free to the community.

Representing StandardAero, Peter Wheatley [MBA/15], Vice President & General Manager, CF34/CFM56, delivered the keynote address at the awards gala on Saturday evening. He shared his career advice for the students in the room that night and commented on the value of businesses participating in these competitions.

“We often imagine a career journey as a straight trajectory forward and up. In reality, that path is made of peaks and valleys, but also opportunities where you need to sidestep and imagine a new path altogether. Embracing those moments is a key part of professional and personal success,” he said.

“At StandardAero, we jumped at the opportunity to participate in the ABCC because by offering our time and a close look at our organization, we benefit from the creativity and perspectives of future business leaders, applying what they’re learning about business today to our aims and goals.”

The community

With over 50 judges, including both alumni and student volunteers, ABCC was truly a team effort. 

As the event’s Platinum Sponsor, The Associates of the Asper School of Business were involved beyond monetary support, with 17 members also serving the competition experience as judges.

Associates Board Chair Denise Zaporzan comments on the importance of ABCC for showcasing Asper across Canada. “We are proud to support the Asper Business Case Competition, allowing visiting students to experience our city’s warm hospitality, collegial business community and innovative spirit. The Associates commend all participants for taking this opportunity to further their business education. It has been an honour to welcome Canada’s future leaders to friendly Manitoba.”

Complete with social activities at The Forks and Festival du Voyageur, the Asper Business Case Competition celebrated business excellence, but also the spirit, creativity and wonder, of Manitoba. The third instalment will take place in February 2025.

Photos by David Lipnowski

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More photos of the 2024 event can be found here.

The Asper Business Case Competition is possible thanks to the sponsorship of the Stu Clark Graduate School (Diamond Sponsor), The Associates of the Asper School of Business (Platinum Sponsor), the James W. Burns Leadership Institute (Case Sponsor), IJL (Silver Sponsor), Princess Auto (Bronze Sponsor) and TD (Supporter).

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