Coming up with solutions

Matt Molloy
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Gander CNA campus qualifies for national event

If the annual College of the North Atlantic (CNA) Business Case competition was sponsored by eHarmony, Gander’s team would have been considered its success story. 

CNA SUCCESS STORY — Members of Team 709 Solutions are, from left: instructor Lisa skinner, Mallory Yates, Courtney Vivian, Jessica Yetman and instructor Tina Dean.

Held at the CNA campus in Grand Falls-Windsor Jan. 18-19, Gander’s team, 709 Solutions, consisted of three ladies who had never met each other before.

Mallory Yates, Courtney Vivian and Jessica Yetman all take distance courses through the CNA Gander campus, and the three prepared for the competition by meeting online, just like members of the popular online dating company, eHarmony.

“When we finally met each other…we referred to it as online dating,” said Ms. Yates with a laugh, which also got Ms. Vivian laughing.

“We had been talking to each other and had been practicing for this online for a few months, but we never met. When we met, it was a little weird at first, but by the time we sat down and had a coffee together, we just clicked so well.”

“Our team formed in November or December, and we practiced once or twice before the Christmas break,” said Ms. Vivian. “Then we started having three practices a week, and it would last three to three-and-a-half hours. We would do a case study on our own in three completely separate homes. Jessica was in St. John’s and we would be here in Gander, and we would talk through a program called Blackboard Collaborate. I would share my desktop, develop a PowerPoint, and that was how we prepared.”

Seven teams competed at the two-day competition and in the end 709 Solutions finished third behind two teams from the host campus.

Team Rainmakers finished first, while RockSolid finished second. Both of those teams will travel to Doha, Qatar, to compete in the International Business Case competition.

As teams gathered to register for the event and to get some last-minute strategizing in, the Gander team sat down for a coffee. It was the first time all three girls met in person, so before they talked about the competition, they literally just wanted to introduce themselves and say ‘Hi.’

“None of us met until the morning of the competition,” said Ms. Yates. “Courtney picked me up about two hours before registration, and we met Jessica half an hour before registration.”

“Nobody believed that we met on Friday,” added Ms. Vivian.They kept saying, ‘You worked so well together.’ We absolutely rocked the question and answer period. One of us would answer a question, the other would give more feedback, and we would continually feed off of each other.”

“When we finally met each other…we referred to it as online dating.” Mallory Yates

Each team at the competition were given four case studies over the course of two days. 709 Solutions were given the following case studies:

•McDonald’s started a Twitter campaign called #McDStories, which ended up receiving a lot of negative publicity

•Frog Box, a Canadian company that rents out recycled moving boxes, was considering expanding into the United States, and were wondering if that move would be good for business

•PEI Preserves, a jam company, was looking to expand and was considering getting into business with Japanese grocery stores

•A man started a backyard guitar company in his garage, and was in his mid-50s when he moved into his own store. He was looking at getting out of his business in four years, while still maintaining a successful store. 709 Solutions had to develop a succession plan

“There were seven different teams from different campuses all across the island. We’re given a case study, and in this case study there’s is a company that has various problems,” said Ms. Vivian. “The teams have two-and-a-half hours to come up with solutions and alternatives, and we have to present them in a PowerPoint presentation. Then we have to present our case to the judges during a 20-minute presentation and then there’s a 10-minute question and answer period.”

By finishing third, 709 Solutions qualified to compete at the National Marketing Case competition, which takes place at Vanier College in Montreal, Feb. 6-9.

It’s going to be a big challenge for the local girls, but after finishing third at the CNA campus in Grand Falls-Windsor, they’re confident they can do well.

“There’s going to be colleges and universities from all over Canada,” said Ms. Yates.

“We’re the only ones representing the College of the North Atlantic, and I believe we’re the only people to represent Gander,” said Ms. Vivian. “There’s going to be 33 different teams.”

Twitter: @BeaconSports12

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