GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR, NL -
Neither snow, sleet or rain could put a damper on the atmosphere of the 13th annual College of the North Atlantic (CNA) Business Case Competition. Twelve teams put their business skills to the test in a round-robin faceoff, but in the end, there could be only one winner and that was The Bestie Solutions from Prince Philip Drive campus.
Among the competitors were three teams apiece from Clarenville, Grand Falls-Windsor and Prince Philip Drive; one from Port aux Basques, a Distributed Learning team, and one team that travelled from overseas to represent CNA’s campus in Doha, Qatar.
During the two-day event, teams were given a business case describing a company facing a specific problem. The teams were sequestered and given 2.5 hours to analyze the problem, recommend a solution, and develop an implementation plan which they would then pitch to a panel of industry judges.
At the end of three rounds, the top team from each of the four divisions moved on for the final round of head-to-head competition. Joining The Bestie Solutions in the finals were Beacon Solutions, also of Prince Philip Drive campus, along with Forte and On Trac Solutions from Grand Falls-Windsor campus.
Stephen Warren, CNA’s Dean of Business and Information Technology, says the competition was a tremendous success, and describes the level of practical and theoretical skills demonstrated to solve complex business problems as world class.
“The four business cases selected for this year’s Business Case Competition were diverse and fierce, and the students were ready for the challenge,” Warren said. “From market compartmentalization, brand impact, to less-than-ethical accounting practices, students faced the true realities of the business world, stood their ground and delivered when the pressure was on.”
The Bestie Solutions didn’t buckle when faced with that pressure. The team is made up of second-year students Jeremy Dominie of Pasadena, Hilarie Duffy of Grand Falls-Windsor, and Ashley Barron and Marissa Barron of St. John’s. In 2017, they were the only first-year team to make it to the finals where they ended up placing fourth. Waiting for the announcement of the winner this year – they were convinced they would finish in the same place.
“All I can say is wow,” said Duffy, who was bubbling over with excitement about the win. “We honestly thought we had fourth place again. I just can’t believe we won this Business Case competition. It’s the last thing we expected for us, but I’m so proud because we’ve grown as a team. We made it to fourth place last year as a first-year team, so to come back in the second year and take first place – it’s surreal.”
“It’s a great feeling,” agreed Dominie. “We had a very emotionally-charged weekend, and in the end, we came together as a group to achieve something great.”
Prince Philip Drive team, Beacon Solutions, brought home second place. They, as well as The Bestie Solutions, are coached by Business Administration instructor Dwight Hutchens, who for the past few years has been developing a training model where new students are mentored by business case alumni. He feels this year, that model has paid dividends.
“I am really happy for my students,” Hutchens said. “Coaching teams who placed first and second is something I am proud of, and I am also delighted with the performance of my third team, who are mainly first-year students. While winning is nice, to me, this competition is all about the personal growth and development of our students, and in this regard I could not be happier.”
On Trac Solutions from Grand Falls-Windsor, who placed first last year, nabbed the third-place award this year. Rounding out the awards ceremony was the recipient of the Bob Hearn Memorial award, which was established in memory of the former Grand Falls-Windsor campus instructor. This year, it was presented to Evolution Solutions of Grand Falls-Windsor campus for showing the most perseverance and determination throughout the weekend.
The presentations of the four finalists, as well as the awards banquet, were live-streamed through the college’s Facebook page at www.cna.nl.ca/facebook
. For more information about the School of Business and Information Technology programs available at CNA, visit www.cna.nl.ca
College of the North Atlantic