Gaining real-world experience

Business Case Competition helps hone management skills

11/8/2018 2:44:27 PM

Hilarie Duffy with the Maggie’s Place team (Jaycie Dalton, Rebecca Squibb and John Smith, Executive Director - Conception Bay Area Chamber of Commerce) all ready to celebrate St. John’s Pride at the canteen.

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Editor’s note: This is the first of a three-part series profiling past participants of CNA’s Business Case Competition. This year’s event is slated for Nov. 15-17 in Grand Falls-Windsor.

GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR, NL - Who wouldn’t want an ocean setting, salt air and sunshine as their summer workplace?
For Hilarie Duffy, a second-year student of the Business Administration (Human Resource Management) program, it was a dream come true with the help of people who, she calls ‘amazing mentors.’
CNA Journey
A native of Grand Falls-Windsor, Hilarie began her journey with the Comprehensive Arts & Science (CAS) Transition program at the CNA campus in her hometown.
Since that time, her studies have taken her to Prince Philip Drive campus in St. John’s, where she is currently a second-year student of the Business Administration (Human Resource Management) program.
Hilarie was raised in a very supportive environment, and was given the freedom to explore her career path.
“Growing up, I was very ambitious at the same time very uncertain too. I originally wanted to become a teacher, then a social worker, and make a difference. With time and after working for a while in a retail environment, as a part of a marketing team, I was driven to pursue the Business Administration (Marketing) program at CNA. However, once I got into the program, as I enjoy working with a people a lot, the Business Administration (Human Resource Management) program seemed like a great fit.”
Business Case Competition Experience
For the past 13 years, CNA has hosted a Business Case Competition at its Grand Falls-Windsor campus.

Hilarie immediately enrolled in the competition last year after she was provided information about it by her one of her instructors.
“My first Business Case Competition in Grand Falls-Windsor was overall a fun experience. Although everything happened at a very fast pace and was sometimes stressful, I met some amazing people and explored some different areas of the business. It was also an excellent opportunity to network with professionals in the community.”
Hilarie says she is looking forward to participating in the Business Case Competition again this year Nov. 15-17 in Grand Falls-Windsor, and gaining even more skills that she can apply to her studies and future career path.
“I am really excited to join the team and participate again, this year. This is a perfect opportunity to prepare to work under pressure, as well as work in teams efficiently and I am looking forward to it.”
Putting skills to into practice
Last summer, Duffy found the perfect job at Maggie’s Place, a canteen business located in Topsail, Conception Bay South, to use her ever-evolving skillset.  

The Conception Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, through its Executive Director John Smith, oversaw the establishment, while Hilarie managed the canteen.
The goal at large was to give youth real experience in running a business - from product development to customer service and everything in between. Maggie's Place offers food concessions, game rentals and local tourism information.
“The canteen is run by the Conception Bay Area Chamber (CBA) and supported by the Canada Summer Jobs Program, an amazing partnership, which helps students as well the community,” Hilarie said.
When running a canteen business at the beach, there is a lot more to do than just serving a delicious meal.
“Typically four people work a day. The job entails everything from planning, pricing, and scheduling the menu to efficiently maintaining the inventory; and most importantly creating, posting and promoting daily lists of food and game rental options on social media.”
She noted that one of the challenges was the fact operating this canteen is a seasonal job, so you have to adapt according to the weather, which in turn, stresses the importance of planning and observation on a day-to-day basis. As well, in order to cater to a diverse demographic, the canteen served vegetarian meals too. All meals include a chocolate chip cookie, bottle of water and cooler bag.
Hilarie says Maggie’s Place is looking to build an infrastructure for the community and persuade more people to explore the beauty of the Topsail beach in Conception Bay area.
“Since this was my first year bringing a few new ideas for next summer, I look forward to reaching out to more food vendors and establishing partnerships as well as encouraging people to enjoy a picnic on the beach. I could not have gotten a better summer job, honestly. It gave me the perfect platform to do it all and utilize the knowledge I gained at CNA, further accomplishing my personal goal of helping the community at large.”
Media contact:
Minal Abhange
Public Relations Specialist
College of the North Atlantic