GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR, NL – A home team has won College of the North’s Atlantic’s (CNA) annual Business Case Competition for a second year in a row.
On Trac Solutions – Distributed Learning (DL) student Tanya Fizzard of Bishop’s Falls, Aaron Tulk of Gander, Codylynn Smith of Grand Falls-Windsor, and Crystal Ford of Deer Lake – joined 12 other teams at the Grand Falls-Windsor campus Nov. 16-18 to compete in the 12th edition of the event.
Winning wasn’t a certainty for the team, which came in last in their division in first round of competition.
“Honestly, it feels surreal. I don’t think any of us expected, going into this, to be the champions, but we are and it feels great,” Smith said in a news release Nov. 23.
“In our first case, we actually became last in our division so that kind of discouraged us a little bit. We had to look at what we were doing and correct it so that was probably the biggest challenge, bringing ourselves back up and regaining our self-confidence after that loss. Dynamically as a team, we work really well... we are really good with supporting each other and keep (each other) focused on our goal.”
Stephen Warren, CNA’s Dean of Business and Information Technology, called the competition a big success.
The level of practical and theoretical skills demonstrated to solve complex business problems was world class, he said.
“The students competing in the Business Case Competition spend hundreds of hours practicing with their coaches outside of regular class time,” Warren said.
“They made the decision to prepare and travel to Grand Falls-Windsor … to study and present their ideas on how to solve the complex business problems presented in the cases. Every single student should be commended for taking on this challenge, and I have no doubt that they all travelled back home with a great sense of accomplishment and pride.”
During the two-day event, teams were given a business case describing a company facing a specific problem.
The teams were sequestered and given two and a half hours to analyze the problem, recommend a solution and develop a plan to pitch to a panel of judges in the round-robin competition.
With four divisions in the competition, and three rounds of case scenarios in front of 12 industry judges, winners from each division were chosen for the final round of head-to-head competition.
“The Business Case Competition is an event that you have to witness in order to truly understand the significant challenges the participants have to navigate through,” Warren said.
“The judges do not hold back during question and answer period, and these students have to be fierce and confident when presenting their solutions. Finding that courage in yourself to step up and take on a difficult question from a judge is a learning moment that is hard to duplicate. All of these participants left Grand Falls-Windsor with a higher sense of confidence in themselves and their ability to perform under stress.”
Fred Penney Jr., vice-president of Penney Paving in Grand Falls-Windsor and a long-time judge for the competition, feels those who choose to take part in the competition prove themselves to be future leaders.
“As a judge we see the teams getting better, in round one, round two and round three. It’s really rewarding for us to see the students’ progress. We know it’s difficult; we know it’s a challenge. If it was easy, it wouldn’t be near as interesting,” Penney said.
Prince Philip Drive team PRKS Solution placed second in the competition and Forte of Grand Falls-Windsor was third.
The Bob Hearn Memorial award, named after a former CNA instructor, was presented to Avalon Consulting of Prince Philip Drive campus for showing the most perseverance and determination.
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.