Business students excel at case competitions in Toronto, Vermont

The University of Guelph-Humber’s Business students were recently decorated with an array of honours at case competitions in Toronto and Vermont.

At the DECA U Provincials at the Toronto Sheraton Centre, University of Guelph-Humber students claimed the following honours:

  • Thomas Martin placed 1st in Human Resource Management
  • Lawrence Lee finished 1st for Restaurant Food Service Management
  • Joy Uddin was 1st for Management Consultant
  • Conor Kelly claimed 1st in International Marketing
  • Parisa Khazra, Sierra Mills and Ruby Tigbayan finished 2nd in the PMI Case Boss competition

Meanwhile, the University of Guelph-Humber team of Parisa Khazra, Alisha Sahota and Niha Shujaat excelled in the highly competitive University of Vermont Family Enterprise Case Competition.

The UofGH team finished in first place within their division on the second day of competition. During the collaboration team challenge, where new teams were formed from different universities, Sahota’s team finished first overall. In the undergraduate division, 16 teams from five countries competed, with 75 judges from 15 countries overseeing the event.

“The students’ success at Vermont and DECA Provincials is a culmination of their academic accomplishments in the classroom, months of practice cases, additional readings and research, as well as determination to succeed,” said Business Assistant Program Head Justin Medakiewicz, who collaborates closely with UofGH’s case competitors.

“I am very proud of all students who competed.”

The University of Guelph-Humber’s team’s impressive result didn’t come easily. When most students went home for some holiday rest, Khazra, Sahota and Shujaat got down to work.

The Vermont contest is the only global case competition dedicated solely to family enterprise, and a restful break was not in the plans for the ambitious trio.

“While people were catching up on sleep, we were just here working,” said Shujaat with a laugh.

As soon as exams were over, the team dived into an extensive set of readings recommended by Medakiewicz that helped the group to familiarize themselves with U.S. business practices and tax laws.

From there, they began an arduous series of four practice run-throughs. In each case, Prof. Medakiewicz assigned a roughly 10-page article outlining a family business quandary usually involving succession planning or growth strategy. The team would then spend six hours per article crafting a business plan, complete with a polished PowerPoint and full oral presentation. Afterward, they would spend more time on a debrief with Prof. Medakiewicz, brainstorming ways to present more effectively.

In all, the group figures they poured about 150 hours into the Vermont case competition, but the joy they took in planning was palpable.

“It’s a bit of a thrill,” Sahota said. “You get very excited when you do a case and they’re all different. And when you have such strong chemistry within the team, you know it’s going to go smoothly, and you always learn something new.”

All three fourth-year students have participated in case competitions throughout their time at UofGH, and having the opportunity to tackle business problems has only been an asset in approaching their coursework.

“It’s probably the best part of our university life the past four years,” Shujaat said.

Learn more about Business at the University of Guelph-Humber.