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Aug. 8, 2016

On July 14, the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics’ Business Technology Management (BTM) program held its second successful case@BTM case competition on Laurier’s Brantford campus.

Open to all BTM students, the inaugural case@BTM Case Hack looked at the growth potential of a social media site and saw ten teams of four students vie for the top prize. Teams were given four hours to read the case, analyse, identify problems and solutions, and create a compelling 15-minute presentation. Afterwards, a judging panel of six faculty responded with 10 minutes of intense questioning. Case presentations were evaluated on the analysis of the case, solutions and clarity of key ideas as well as visual content and professionalism.

Teams were divided into one of two streams: one for third-year students and another for fourth-year students. Winning students from the first stream included Matthew Raines, Simran Hayer, Leah Devos and Dante Edissi, all third-year students in the BTM program. Fourth-year BTM students Steven Thai, Maryemma Saddler, Carmen Cheung and Johnny Nguyen took home the win in the second stream.

“The two winning teams provided truly creative, well prepared and professionally presented solutions,” said Josephine McMurray, Lazaridis School assistant professor and case@BTM Director. “Our case faculty agree that these teams were of a calibre that could successfully compete in external competitions.”

Student participants shared positive feedback about the competition and its personal development opportunities:

“An amazing, challenging experience. The case competition helped me advance my communication skills having to talk with my team members under pressure and then share our ideas with the judges. My teamwork skills also improved by learning when to move on from an argument and finding common ground…A big bonus to joining case competitions is you get to apply what you learned in your BTM classes.”

“I thoroughly enjoyed the case experience from start to finish, through all the stress and panicking. Having never done a case competition before, it was an amazing event: from the teamwork to the crumpled papers of old ideas and numbers, to standing in front of the judges and watching their facial expressions as I spoke and sold them our idea.”

case@BTM was launched in spring 2015 by McMurray with the help of a Special Initiatives Fund Grant. McMurray wanted to establish a case competition infrastructure for BTM students of all years on the Brantford campus and develop an annual workshop schedule to incrementally build case analysis skills in participating students.

For the past year, the BTM program has been running monthly case@BTM workshops, promising students a piece of pizza and the opportunity to augment their learning experience and develop case analytic skills. Topics ranged from teamwork, finance, strategy, and digital marketing to valuation methods, case attack strategies and providing peer feedback of informal case presentations. The two-hour evening workshops regularly had 20-25 students in attendance.

In March, the BTM program held its first weekend-long event, case@BTM Case DeBug Competition, with 16 student participants. The quality of business case solutions and presentations was a strong endorsement for the commitment of the students and faculty involved.

As case@BTM grows, McMurray aims to move towards a sustainable student volunteer model of operation and create more internal case competitions for BTM students. “Our goals with case@BTM are to build skills and an infrastructure to support a competitive team in business technology management case competitions,” said McMurray. “We’re confident that we are well on our way.”

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