Vancouver at four in the morning in the wintertime looks a lot like an alien planet: Closed shops, vacant streets, and dimly lit homes all bathed in a gray lunar light is all there is for anyone to notice at this hour. The only people who happened to be awake were the final devout partygoers downtown, and the weary-eyed travelers on their way to catch early morning flights. I was of the latter.
When we arrived in Toronto, it was a cold but pleasant day. A brisk reminder of the unique nature of Vancouver’s kind Winters. After arriving in the hotel lobby we were greeted by a cheerful MBA Games volunteer wearing a name tag as proof of authenticity and a neon green shirt that was only rivaled in blinding colour intensity by our tie dyed SFU sports team jerseys. We were directed to the registration tables where we were met with more neon clad volunteers who issued each team member a wrist band and a bag of standard issue fare from corporate sponsors. The bag most notably included an aluminum water bottle, and a box of cinnamon toast crunch.
At 7pm that evening we all walked from the main hotel concourse to the banquet hall through a series of stairwells and corridors being met by other school teams in full uniform also on their way to the banquet hall. It was clear at this point that the tone the rest of the weekend was going to take would be an interesting cocktail of friendly conversation mixed with intense competition on the courts and in the boardrooms. It would be a memorable weekend for certain!
Walking through the banquet hall doors revealed the venue for the night: A room the size of a football field, saturated in the enthusiasm of 660 MBA students. With the opening of the symbolic briefcase to commemorate the beginning of the games, the school teams began a series of unique displays of team spirit. Some schools chose to show it with croquet mallets and matching garb, others wielded streamers or electric guitars. Being the international school that we are, it was a clear choice that we use Vuvuzelas for our team anthem herein for the rest of the competition.
A part of the opening ceremony was a chance for every school to have an introductory dance and song. These presentations turned out to be as varied as the schools themselves. Everything from dawning sunglasses and standing in utter stillness, to fully choreographed dance sequences with rock guitar solos were presented with catchy sing-a-long instructions. Even men dressed as ‘single ladies’ bravely entered the stage for everyone’s enjoyment. It was a thoroughly entertaining night, and a grand beginning to the competition.
Prior to returning to classes for the spring semester, 39 members of the Segal Graduate School of Business embarked on an adventure to Toronto to participate in the annual MBA Games. The competition was hosted by York University, last year’s victor. Despite it being SFU’s first appearance in six years, the team did exceptionally well, finishing fourth out of 20 teams.
The competition was a mixture of academic, athletic, and spirit events. These events were packed into the weekend at various locations throughout the city. The academic competitions – consisting of a marketing case study, a business plan competition, and a business simulation – took place at York University and at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel. Associate Dean Colleen Collins helped the team prepare for the competition by organizing case workshops and chaperoning the trip.
Jeff Norman, a member of the finalist marketing case study team, said, “It was an excellent opportunity to showcase to other schools what we’re made of. Additionally, we had a chance to do some great networking.” The team was given three hours to prepare a presentation for C-level executives of Telus Communications concerning the future of tablets (electronic devices such as iPads), and advanced to the finals before finishing in 4th place.
SFU Business MBA student, Julia Green, was kind enough to share her experiences at the 2011 MBA games with us. Please enjoy this entry!
The time has come! After a restless sleep in our respective hotel rooms, myself, Colin, Kelvin, Matt and our coach Tim were up at 6:30 am Toronto time (3:30 am Vancouver time) in order to iron our suits and eat a good breakfast. The bus to Schulich Business School (York University) left bright an early at 8:00 am sharp. After a dozy 40 minute bus ride, we finally arrived at the Schulich campus. The case competition officially began at 9:30 am. Before we knew it, we were well on our way. The three hours spent analyzing and preparing our case presentation went by in a flash. After feverishly putting the finishing touches on our power point, and handing in our USB, we had about an hour to relax before we were officially set to present in front of the judges. The nervous energy was palpable, I could barely sit still.
Finally, it was time for us to present. In one word; we nailed it. The judges asked tough questions, but we had eloquent and well-placed responses to every question thrown at us. We were confident, but aware of the caliber of the competition; top business schools including Richard Ivey, Queen’s and Rotman to name a few. At the end of the first round, we waited patiently to hear who made the finals and were delighted to learn that Segal was one of six teams to make it through to the finals!
SFU Business MBA student, Julia Green, was kind enough to share her experiences at the 2011 MBA games with us. Enjoy the entry!
Only two days left until we take off to Toronto for the 2011 MBA Games! Today, the business and marketing case teams met to carry out a full case study practice simulation. All I can say is what an eye opening experience. After being handed the cases, the teams set to work, analyzing the case data and preparing a full 15 minute power point presentation in just three hours. SFU faculty members acted as judges, and while we were grilled with tough questions, we were also provided with some very useful feedback. Key learnings from today’s case competition simulation include:
1) Delegate a task-master who is responsible for keeping track of time
2) Consider the financial statements in the appendix of the case
3) Be confident and smile at judges while presenting
SFU Business MBA student, Julia Green, was kind enough to share her experiences at the 2011 MBA games with us. Here is a note from Julia along with her entry:
“I was honoured to represent Segal at the MBA Games as a member of the business case team. The case competition experience was both challenging and rewarding. Below is my MBA Games case competition diary.” – Julia Green, MBA Candidate
Official MBA Games crunch time has begun! After an amazing and relaxing holiday break, the MBA Games case team was eager to begin actively preparing for the case competition component.
First off, let me introduce the MBA Games business case competition team. Matt Harris, Colin Lam and I are all current full-time MBA students here at SFU. Kelvin Chiu is a current MOT student, who works full-time as a Customer-Focused Team Leader with Creation Technologies. We also have two exceptional back-up members: Kathleen Williams and Tim Charles, both current MBA students.