On March 13th 2015, I was joined by fellow Segal Case Club members Anant Singh, Anna Migicovsky, Deepak Bhatia, Pablo Lopez, and Wim Hersbach in attending the first ever Inter-MBA Case Competition hosted by the University of Victoria. The goal of the event was to place MBA students studying in Vancouver into a collaborative yet competitive environment. Students were placed in mixed teams to maximize the opportunity for networking and learning.
The team caught the 7 am ferry from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay, and by 9:30 am, we arrived at UVic. After grabbing a quick bite to eat, we began networking with other MBA students from the UVic and Vancouver Island University. By 10:20 am, the case copies were handed out to the teams covering the topics of sustainability and entrepreneurship.
Our task was two-fold: (1) to generate awareness and interest in customers of a large Canadian food retailer about the company’s efforts towards responsible seafood sourcing; and, (2) to influence their suppliers to engage in sustainable seafood practices.
Cue in one of the most stressful two hours of my life. Working with people whose strengths and interests I am unfamiliar with was quite challenging especially within a short time frame. There were many different approaches in case analysis that surfaced and my team had to quickly figure out a way around this by dividing the responsibilities amongst ourselves. Despite the stress, the brainstorming process was immensely enjoyable.
It felt worthwhile generating creative yet realistic ideas for a company that is keen on promoting sustainable activities in all levels of their supply chain. Finally, our team’s last challenge was to prepare a presentation that was concise but included details, given that each group only had 10 minutes to present and there was no Q&A session that followed.
All teams were encouraged to stay in the room during the presentations, which was foremost a learning opportunity. Some recommendations that were presented included pooling of industry best practices, social media marketing, vertical integration, or acquiring suppliers and customer loyalty programs. We had the privilege to be joined by executives from a local environmental consulting firm, a strategic advisor from BC’s environmental assessment office, and two professors from the UVic faculty who graciously lent their time to serve as judges and provided thorough feedback to the presenters.
The event concluded with the announcement of results and sharing of feedback over some cocktails. Two of my colleagues, Anna and Anant, and their corresponding teams secured both first and second place, respectively.
As the team took the 7pm ferry ride back to Vancouver, we reflected on the day’s activities. We agreed that this was a great learning experience that every student has to take advantage of. We are looking forward to seeing most of the friends we made during this event in next month’s Sustainability Challenge hosted by Beedie’s Net Impact team.
Anne Suansing is a full-time MBA student at the Beedie School of Business. She is the Vice President of Communications of Beedie’s Graduate Business Women’s Council and a member of the Net Impact Segal Chapter. Her background is in logistics and distribution. Her interests are in process design and improvement, entrepreneurship and food manufacturing. She closely follows tennis and loves playing the sport. Connect with Anne on LinkedIn.