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Guelph-Humber business case students look to top the podium in 2023

Nearly halfway through their schedule of business case competitions and hundreds of hours in training later, the University of Guelph-Humber’s team has placed second at two of three competitions they have competed in over this academic year.

Their most recent 2nd place finish came in November at the Ethics in Action business case competition hosted by Dalhousie University.

As they look ahead to their next competitions business students Hailey De Papa, Raj Khatri, Jess Samra and Lauren Whiteside (who joined the team in October after their first competition in Australia) sat down with the Guelph-Humber communications team to tell us about their experiences so far.

As they look ahead to 2023 and competitions in Alberta, Budapest, and Iowa they were united in one objective- they want to break their so-called “second place curse.” Also on their wish list is more practice in front of professors with different backgrounds to strengthen their preparation even more.

Photo of case competition students

The Q and A below is an edited version of their perspectives on what it has been like so far travelling and competing representing Guelph-Humber. 

Q. What is the hardest part of these competitions?

Photo of Hailey Del Papa

Hailey: Every competition is so different so you must change your style even though we have had so much training. You train over the summer- it’s almost like you are training from square one for each combination. It’s adapting to each competition to adapt to their rules.

Q. What part is the most fun?

Raj: Travelling and meeting people from different places. It was nice. There is no other way other than the internet to talk to somebody and learn different perspectives of a different place and a different world view- being able to do that allows you to open your perspective and add it to your own worldview.

Photo of Raj Khatri
Photo of Lauren Whiteside

Lauren: When I first met the three of them – they said we have a rule that you can’t get mad at each other no matter what happens. We all get nervous when we go in but knowing that you have a supportive team that regardless of what happens – there is never aggression- so it’s nice to be with people who are your friends. It relieves the pressure.

Q. What drew you to be on this team?

Jessica: I just wanted to be involved at school in something more than just my courses and I didn’t know how to go about that. I wanted to do something that would push me further in my academics- Hailey’s sister was on the team previously. We watched the team last year at practice. They were impressive. I figured it was going to be hard- but I was willing to try.

Photo of Jessica Samra

Q. What has been the biggest surprise competing in case competitions?

Jessica: The amount of time it takes. Before Halifax we were doing 12 hours a day three days in a row. That’s the biggest surprise for me. It is a huge time commitment. Other schools have massive teams and graduate teams that they can learn from, for us it’s just the four of us.

Q. What has been the most memorable moment so far from competing?

Photo of case competition students

Raj: When we were in Australia and I was told that one of the teams from a Chinese University took pictures of my slides. The fact that they are taking notes from me from the other side of the world. It’s kind of nice that my work is being translated across to the other side of the world.

Q. What do you want to do when you graduate?

Raj: I want to get my CPA and do accounting and then get my Master’s in history and become a professor of history. 

Hailey: I know I want to get my Master's. Guelph-Humber is a great place to go for undergrad. It’s been more beneficial because you know your professors- rather than a big school. But first I would like some work experience at a firm in account management.

Jessica: I want to work within different countries with different cultures. It may give me a better appreciation for Canada and business in Canada. I love to travel so that would be fun. 

Lauren: I want to get my PMP- there are a few things that I like. I’ve been working at a general contract office for a while. The case team has brought out skills that I didn’t know I had. You get inspired to do other things. 

Q. When do you start preparing for the next competition? 

Jessica: Over the Christmas break we will start with some Zoom calls 

Q. What if anything would you do differently?

Jessica: Organizing our schedules – plan. Trying to solidify our schedule far in advance. It would be great if we could six-hour days instead of 12-hour days. 

Up next for the team is the Alberta Not-For-Profit Case Competition in Edmonton in February 2023.