A record number of teams converged at College of the North Atlantic’s (CNA) Grand Falls-Windsor campus this weekend to compete in the college’s 11th
annual Business Case competition – their biggest one to date.
Six teams travelled from St. John’s to represent Prince Philip Drive and Ridge Road campuses, five teams participated from Grand Falls-Windsor, two teams came from Clarenville, one came from Port aux Basques, and one travelled overseas to represent CNA’s campus in Doha, Qatar, bringing this year’s team total to 15.
This year saw a diverse mix of programs represented at the competition, including Business Administration, Business Management, Office Administration, Programmer Analyst (Business) Co-op, Industrial Engineering Technology, and Comprehensive Arts and Science Transfer: College-University.
During the two-day event, the teams were given a business case describing a company facing a specific problem. The teams were sequestered and given two-and-a-half hours to analyze the problem, recommend a solution, and develop an implementation plan which they pitched to a panel of judges in the round robin competition.
Mary Vaughan, CNA’s Dean of Business and Information Technology, says the competition was intense with every team stepping up their game.
“This event brings our campuses together from Newfoundland and Labrador to Qatar, and involves the commitment and dedication of our students, faculty and industry. It is an excellent learning opportunity where the students demonstrate their business knowledge in an applied setting while confidently responding to the panel of industry judges.”
With four divisions in the competition, and three rounds of case scenarios in front of 12 industry judges, winners from each division were chosen for the final round of head-to-head competition.
Fred Penney Jr. is vice-president of Penney Paving in Grand Falls-Windsor and a long-time judge for CNA’s Business Case competition. He feels these were some of the strongest teams he’s encountered since he began volunteering with the event.
“I think this was one of the better competitions I’ve been involved in during the past eight years,” Penney said. “It was nice to see so many teams because it shows that there is a lot of interest in the competition. This year the students seemed to be better prepared than in the past few years. A senior judge and I certainly noticed it. I think they take what they learn from the previous year (and apply it) so it just keeps getting better and better every year.”
The event is a learning opportunity for participants who avail of mentoring and coaching, which in turn helps them to grow as competitors. It’s that interaction that brings Penney back as a judge each year.
“The conversations I have with the students after the competition is what brings me back. I can’t have a chat with them beforehand because we have to keep the separation there, but the conversations we have off to the side where they tell me why they are here, and what they got out of it – that’s why I keep coming back. It means a lot to the students.”
In the end it was Panoramic Consulting of Grand Falls-Winsor who walked away with the top spot from the competition, with Blended Solutions of Prince Philip Drive and Ridge Road in second, and In-Howse Solutions of Prince Philip Drive in third.
The Bob Hearn Memorial award, which is presented to the team that showed the most perseverance and determination, went to a team made up entirely of first-year Business students - On Trac Solutions of Grand Falls-Windsor.
“I’m impressed by the performance of the first year students,” Penney added. “There were five teams here that were new, and to me it looked like they were coached well and practiced a lot before they got here.”
Panoramic Consulting, comprised of Stacie Brown of Botwood, Travis White of Comfort Cove-Newstead, Angie Brown of Appleton and Ira Parmenter of St. John’s, took home the trophy for 2016. The team has 10 years of combined experience between the four members, and while they are thrilled to have won, for them it’s about the overall experience.
"The Business Case is an amazing way to overcome your fears, expand your mind, and stretch your limits, while at the same time having fun and meeting new people,” Angie said. “It brings people together for a common goal regardless of age, social status or background. That alone is a testimony of how special an event it is."
"I feel the competition gave me a real chance to challenge myself and have fun at the same time,” Travis said. “The presentations are great, but it's the fun we had in the case room that really made it worthwhile."
“The Business Case competition is such an amazing opportunity and I would recommend competing to anyone, no matter their skills with public speaking or presenting,” added Stacie. “Through this competition you not only have an excellent weekend with your team, but you also build invaluable lifelong skills. CNA has given us so much opportunity and I cannot thank the campus enough for everything they do!”
This year the presentations of the four finalists, as well as the awards banquet, were live streamed through the college’s Facebook page. To view the presentations and banquet in its entirety, visit www.cna.nl.ca/facebook
. For more information about the Business and Information Technology programs available at CNA, visit www.cna.nl.ca
Public Relations Specialist
College of the North Atlantic