“Be dee one who went to the Acumen case competition final.”
All bad jokes aside, I (farthest to the right) recently had the pleasure of preparing and presenting a strategy for Ziqitza health care ltd to a panel of Social Entrepreneurs at the annual Acumen case competition. This competition differs from most in that all cases revolve around a social enterprise, thus adding an added level of challenge to the task. My team of fellow MBAs Winnie So, Andrew Simard, and I (Mike Vandervelden) placed 2nd in what the organizer declared “The Closest Finals Yet”. The task was to provide a scalable strategy for Ziqitza to:
“Provide world-class ambulance service for all of India’s population, regardless of socioeconomic status”.
For us it all came down to “HELP”. We knew we had to provide something outside of the case that would be a real game changer, something that would make Ziqitza or 1298 (the emergency number they would use) synonymous with ambulance services. That’s when we came up with the Acronym “HELP” to teach people when to dial 1298.
So, why bother share a 2nd place experience you might ask? Well, because the take away from this competition equates to so much more then meets the eye. This competition was unique in the sense that Acumen put on a 4 session course spanning 5 months, in which they gave us tips on how to approach these types of problems. However, these skills go well beyond just case competitions, they are skills that can be applied to real world scenarios. In my mind, case competitions provide real word gut checks as to how we are applying our education. So although it took a few days for the sting of being so close to victory to dissipate, when I sit back and think about what we achieved, I couldn’t be more thrilled. One of the judges, an investment and financial innovator known for attacking poor strategy, not only used her Q and A time to praise our unique and innovative strategy, but also sought us out afterwards to inquire about our future aspirations. This praise alone made up for the bitter defeat, as it provided a real sense of confirmation that we’ve made substantial progress in our MBA journey.
On a more personal level, this experience has done wonders for me in terms of career development. Upon starting the MBA program at Beedie, I knew I wanted to get involved in a sector where I could use the mode of business to make an impact in society; I just didn’t know how I was going to do it. I started looking at different options outside of my original goals in hopes of building a circle of experience that I could tie together in hopes of applying it to an honorable initiative one day. Through a series of cases based on providing healthcare services to citizens in India, I was able to grasp what it takes to provide a sustainable business strategy revolving around philanthropic mission statements: I now believe I can achieve both simultaneously. This experience has not only refocused my objectives and introduced me to the exciting world of Social Enterprise, but I was also able to meet great people already working in this space. It’s opened a whole new world for me.
It is not until you fully immerse yourself in your opportunities, that you create the potential to become one of the Few Great Minds – Mike Vandervelden Beedie MBA