Bachelor of Commerce students make their presentation to judges during Royal Roads University's International Undergraduate Case Competition. This week's 13th annual event sees 20 university and college teams from Canada

Future business leaders solve case studies at Royal Roads University

Colwood-based school hosts international students in annual competition

Commerce students from Royal Roads University, schools across Canada and even Ireland are in Colwood this week to take part in the Royal Roads University International Case Competition.

The 13th annual event challenges the teams of third- and fourth-year bachelor of commerce students to analyze real-life business scenarios and create strategies to help the business move forward successfully.

Last year they designed plans for brewer Molson Coors to convert its global corporate responsibility efforts into revenue increases; created an expansion plan for the operators of a popular mountain bike event in South Africa, and built an action plan to help the new general manager of a flagging golf and country club get the operation headed in the right direction.

Samantha Wood, a member of the competition organizing team and a part of the event since 2007, said the scenarios offer teams a challenging way to use the skills they’ve learned in school.

“They have to think on their feet,” she says of the format, which prohibits the use of cellphones or any online resources for research.

The 20 teams have three hours to analyze each of three business cases – every team looks at the same three scenarios – before making a 20-minute strategy pitch to a panel of local judges. That’s followed by a 10-minute question-and-answer period with the panelists.

After the third round is completed on Friday (March 20), the top four teams based on aggregate points awarded will tackle one last business case Saturday to determine the champion.

A team of four from the Dublin Institute of Technology won the event last year, and the school has sent a different team back to defend its title. The RRU reps finished 12th last year.

“They have to come up with novel solutions; maybe they’ve been trained in certain strategies,” Wood says. “Three hours is not a lot of time to get through what can be, in some cases, a 12- to 15-page case study. You’ve got to come up with a strategy, produce financials … It has to make sense, has to be implementable and has to be realistic.”

The public is welcome to attend the sessions, which happen concurrently in separate spaces at RRU’s Learning and Innovation Centre. Saturday’s final sessions will be live streamed, a feature that has attracted attention in past.

“One year a team from Florida had made the finals, and we saw on Twitter that the Florida supporters were watching them on the stream,” Wood says.

The event isn’t all stress and seriousness. Students attended a social on Thursday night to network with likeminded individuals from around the country, share stories from school and otherwise let their hair down.

Friday’s presentations, which include tackling a Greater Victoria business scenario, get underway around 4:20 p.m. and run till 7, while the finals get started around 12:15 p.m. Saturday. The winner will be announced later that night at the awards ceremony and gala.

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