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Ambrose Competes for the 2nd Year at the HRC West Case Competition

Monday, April 8, 2019
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For the 2nd year in a row, Ambrose Business students competed in the Human Resources case competition organized by CPHR Alberta. This involved practices and coaching throughout the year, leading up to the competition in Kamloops in early March 2019.

Practice to Perfection

Graduating student Shaynah Godlien: I competed in the HRC West 2018 case competition last March. The 2019 HRC West case competition was the first time the other group members had ever competed in a case competition. Our team had to learn how to work collectively in order to successfully structure and execute our cases. This was a familiar dynamic to me, as I had to learn how to work collectively with new individuals at a high level while playing post-secondary volleyball. Similar to what we do in sports (though less frequent), our team would meet once a month to practice and go over cases used in the past. Our practice paid off on the day of our case competition. Though it was quite new for us, our team had such a strong foundation that we were able to perform under pressure and really demonstrate the effort and time we put in leading up to the competition. During the competition, we learned how much we knew and how much we didn’t know. We really came together as a team and were able to apply our different specializations to the perspective of the case and think quickly on our feet. Once we got to the 20-minute presentation portion of the competition, we gave all we had in our presentation and met most all of our team goals.

A unique aspect of the case competition this year was being able to have copies of our presentations so as to see how we can improve our presentation skills in the future. It was also quite neat to be able to network and engage with some of our judges after the competition to not only hear some of their feedback on the competition, but also their perspectives on various aspects of the business world. This competition was a privilege to compete in, as we were able to put Ambrose on the map and demonstrate the high quality of business graduates coming out of Ambrose’s Business Program.

Case competitions can be so beneficial to programs like Ambrose Business. It further pushes students to practically apply the knowledge gained through our studies, while also collaborating with others in high pressure situations. This is something many employers value, and helps case-competing business students stand out in the workforce. Truly, it is an asset that employers will not only recognize, but also value. Though I am now graduating and unable to compete next year, I look forward to seeing how Ambrose Business and case competition teams continue to grow and develop in the future.

Adds teammate Megan Pitts, “HRC was great for team building in our group. In the months leading up to the event we got to know each others’ strengths and weaknesses, so that during the competition we were operating as effectively as possible. It was really great to see how in the pressure of the actual competition we all clicked especially well and were able to brainstorm efficiently to come to a solution that we thought best fit the case.” Rounding out the team, Sarah Janz adds, “the case competition was a great learning experience. It was a great opportunity to work through an issue and then see how other teams approached the same issue."

Looking Back
Business professor & coach Tim Vanderpyl: I loved taking this group of students to the HRC West case competition (both in 2018 and 2019). While this specific competition was a Human Resources (HR) competition, the cases presented were business issues. The students were challenged out of their comfort zones to solve HR issues with a business lens. It is hard as a Professor/Coach to sit helplessly in the waiting areas (they don’t let us in the room while the students prepare and present). But in both years, I was confident that our students would tackle the issues presented to them with intelligence, insight and care. They definitely did so in both years we competed, and I am proud of their work! Looking forward, we hope to take more groups to other case competitions. We also plan to work with businesses and business leaders to help prep the students for these competitions. In 2019, Kudos (an employee recognition software company) sponsored our team. The President of Kudos (Tom Short) was excited to see these students in action and graciously helped to cover some of the travel costs. Future case competitions will give our students opportunities to test their skills against some of the best business students in Canada. I look forward to seeing them in action!

Looking Ahead
Second year student Fern Rayas (who practiced with the team this year and plans to complete next year): Being part of the HRC West was an extraordinary learning experience. It was a privilege to work with such an influential group of individuals. What I appreciated the most about this contest were the opportunities to learn more about our abilities. I believe that university is a safe environment to learn and make mistakes, so continuing to being part of this competition next year will help me improve my problem-solving skills, leadership and communication skills, while gaining experience in the field. This opportunity will also allow me to grow within my academic field of Human Resources, meet diverse people, and have fun!