On the evening of Friday, February 17th, 2017, four students arrived in Boulder, Colorado for the finals of the 16th annual Net Impact Case Competition (NICC). CU Boulder and the Leeds School of Business partnered this year with the National Behavioral Health Innovation Center (NBHIC), whose mission is to implement revolutionary approaches to mental health by connecting thought leaders and resources across the country to find adaptable solutions. That evening, the team juggled script memorization, group practices, team bonding, and even a late-night Kinko’s run!
“These last-minute preparations were worth it as the next morning our presentation went flawlessly. We were well choreographed, perfectly executed, and the Q&A was handled with ease. Ultimately, while we were finalists, we did not become champions. However, it was with pride that my team and I represented SFU against the top schools in North America,” says Shannon Bridson, a proud member of the team. They competed against 14 other teams from all over Canada and the United States, including a second team from the Beedie School of Business.
Dasha, an enthusiastic member of the team, comments on the strength of the preparation, “I feel very certain that our school is doing so much right, with two teams entering finals in such a competitive event. I feel confident in our education, professors, the student engagement, and very proud of the strong representation of the Beedie School of Business at this competition.”
The team has returned more knowledgeable, inspired, and ready to use this experience in the coming semesters and future careers. This was made possible by funding put forward from the Beedie School of Business to support students entering case competitions, staying true to the commitment of encouraging learning, new experiences, and growth.
“I was so appreciative of the experience we received in Boulder for the NICC. I not only was able to learn and grow, but was also able to develop an understanding of how much Beedie supports us in our growth. Mental health and whole health were always important to me, but this experience helped me see why companies struggle to implement whole health into a company. People in leadership are continually learning more about mental health and the importance of it. Are we equipping them so that they incorporate mental health into their company culture properly? What does that look like? These were questions this competition attempted to answer.” Reflects Ben Myers, who brought his past work experience in mental health as a key addition to this team.
The adventure started with the first round as a virtual case in late November, presenting challenges to change in health and wellness benefits in a large energy company. The team successfully advanced to finals which expanded on the first case, and asked participants to find business solutions to the problem of mental illness and substance abuse in the workplace; considering social, financial, and managerial aspects of implementing a robust mental health change model along other wellness benefits in the same energy company. Participants had an opportunity to engage with twenty business leaders including representatives from the NBHIC, who made up the judges’ panels, allowing for valuable input in the feedback.
“Competing in the Net Impact Case Competition in Boulder was perhaps the most rewarding experience in the MBA program I’ve had so far. Participating helped hone and develop my research and presentation skills. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of talented team members as they pushed me to perform at my best, and whose professionalism and dedication to the case and the issues of mental health and workplace stigma were truly inspiring,” says Jeff Aviss, who brought his experience in the energy industry to complete this team.
The team is pleased to have had this opportunity to not only represent the Beedie School of Business, but to explore and contribute to important issues in the business world.
Dasha Taikh is an MBA Candidate at the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Calgary, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. Dasha is currently the Director of Communications at the Net Impact Segal Chapter. She has experience in non-profit management and the music industry with a strong focus on management of volunteers. Dasha is passionate about change management, leadership development, mental health, and community building. Find out more about Dasha through LinkedIn or contact her via e-mail.