Future Leaders Face Off in Business Case Competition

Future Leaders Face Off in Business Case Competition



Every year in February, when Montreal is a cold, dark and snowy place, the city plays hosts to the brightest students from the top 24 universities of the world. The students come to the John Molson School of Business to compete and to prove their school to be the best in the world. They take the knowledge they've gleaned from their classrooms and apply it to real-life business challenges. This is the John Molson Undergraduate Case Competition (JMUCC).

Case competitions are nothing new to business schools. The case method is a popular teaching tool where students learn to apply their knowledge by applying it to business cases, from real-life past business challenges. This allows them to learn by doing. Case competitions allow for students to do this with live business cases. They work in teams to solve the business challenge and then present their recommendations to a panel of judges who are business executives.

JMUCC is a unique competition in that students participate in four business cases over the course of the week. They compete in teams of four and present their solutions to top executives from the company. The first three cases are 3 hour cases where students have 3 hours without internet access to work in a team to solve these solutions. The final case is a 24hr research case where the students work without sleep for a full day as they do a thorough research (with internet) and analysis of the company before providing their recommendations.

Over the course of the week, the students do more than just solve cases. Another key component of the competition is networking. The students make lifelong friendships as well as important business connections as they are the future leaders of tomorrow. They also meet leaders of the Montreal business community who have been known to give on the spot job offers during the competition.

JMUCC wouldn't be such a life changing event is it was strictly business. Throughout the week, students attend many social events that allow them to get to know each other as well as experience the beauty of Montreal. In this year's edition of the competition, students experienced the Old Port at La Champagnerie, were introduced to Molson beer with an evening at the brewery, checked out the bar scene at the trendy Mme Lee, networked at RBC headquarters, and ended their week on St Laurent at Tokyo Bar. Despite the many social acitivities, students always kept their eyes on the prize and clearly brought their A games.

JMUCC is organized by a team of eight undergraduate students from the John Molson School of Business. Students spend a full ten months working to bring the competition together. Led by a President, the team is close and tight-knit. Student executives take on individual portfolios like sponsorship, academic cases, logistics, volunteers, marketing and universities. During the week of the competition, the organizing committee barely eats or sleep to ensure they can create a life-changing experience for the 96 student delegates. As one past committee member put it, "JMUCC challenged me and grew me in so many positive ways - by far the most memorable experiences of my undergrad!". She is not alone in her views.

The organizing committee is supported by 50 volunteers during the week of the competition. Thirty of these volunteers give up their spring breaks and move in to the Hilton Bonaventure Hotel for a week to volunteer full time. This is great opportunity for John Molson students as they get the full experience of the competition. Twenry-four volunteers act as "team ambassadors" and are each assigned to one of the competing universities to act as their team host for the week. Another six volunteers work under the VP Logistics to ensure that the all aspects of the competition run smoothly during the week.

I've been lucky enough to experience two JMUCCs as a member of the organizing committee. I was the VP Public Relations for the fifth anniversary edition of the competition and the President for the 2014 edition. I can honestly say that my involvement with JMUCC as been the most rewarding experience of my life. I've made so many lifelong friends and lived unforgettable moments. The most important thing however, is what I've learned about myself. I've learned what I'm capable of, how to manage a team, how to overcome an insurmountable number of problems and how to successfully operate without sleep. Talk about an experience! My experience with JMUCC also landed me my first two internships. Not too shabby! I will never what JMUCC has given me and I will cherish the memories for a lifetime. Nothing is more rewarding to me than hearing from participants that this was the best week of their lives.

Many awards are given out at the end of the competiton. The Lightspeed Spirit Award went to the University of Alberta. The Dynamite Hospitality Award was given to Izak Nagar, a second time volunteer. The National University of Singapore placed first at JMUCC 2014. In second place was Queen's University and in third, the University of Florida. Congratulations to all the participants!

*All photos in this post are courtesy of Adam Castonguay Photography.

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