Spring 2012 Interview with winning ICE team
In an interview with SBE Marketing Coordinator, Fisnik Lokku, following the announcement of Team 11's win: Srinidhi, Sridharan, Michael Stuparyk, Sarah Trieu, Jeyda Tuncel, and Taha Zafar.
This year’s case featured EcoSynthetix Inc., a renewable chemicals company specializing in biomaterials used as inputs in a wide range of end products. In 2011, the company had sales of $20.8 million and the launch of its initial public offering (IPO) in August 2011 raised $100 million, the largest clean technology IPO to date on the TSX.
Co-authored by Laurier faculty members D’Arcy Delamere and David Rose, the case asked students to answer an age-old issue for public companies: How to generate short term growth in revenue and profits while developing longer-term products and capabilities.
The ICE competition began with groups of five to six students presenting their recommendations in writing and orally to a board of School of Business & Economics faculty. The groups with the best overall performance, before each internal board, were then selected to present before an external board of business executives, including representatives from EcoSynthetix: John van Leeuwen, CEO; Peter van Ballegooie `89, VP, marketing & business development; Robert Haire, CFO; Ted van Egdom, VP, production; Chad Artem `08, senior financial analyst.
SBE: What was the ICE experience like for you?
Team 11: ‘Oh my god’ said one team member, clearly overwhelmed with excitement minutes after having been declared the winners of Laurier’s Integrated Case Exercise.
‘Best team ever.’
SBE: What do you think was the most important contributing factor to your success?
Team 11: We all wanted to win; we shared a common goal. We were fortunate enough to have incredible team cohesion and the drive to be successful. The amount of work and extensive research to prepare, the communication, the support for one another, the synergy: we were more than teammates, we were friends.
SBE: What was the most challenging part about ICE week?
Team 11: The case itself was highly technological; it was an industry that we did not know much about prior to entering ICE. The psychology of figuring out what [Ecosynthetix] wanted.
SBE: What did you enjoy most about ICE?
Team 11: Working with this team; ICE week is the highlight of the BBA career. We were able to apply what we learned in the real business world.
SBE: How did you prepare for the final between the announcement at lunch and your presentation?
Team 11: We didn’t. ICE week moves so fast that we weren’t able to make any changes between the semi-final and the final, we were confident enough in our presentation.
SBE: What was it like presenting your recommendation to the decision makers from the company?
Team 11: Actually, we preferred it. Knowing their criteria, we were able to build our case around what they wanted. The final gave us the opportunity for some good face-time with the decision makers.
SBE: Do you feel that the case was an effective way to gain some practical experience in decision making?
Team 11: Yes. We were forced to think outside the box. We felt like a consulting team.
SBE: What is your advice for the next batch of ICE students?
Team 11: Be sure to spend a lot of time trying to figure out what the case is really about before diving in. Do a lot of background research to understand the company and their products.