Posts Tagged ‘MBA Experience’
Two teams of MBA and MOT students travelled from Vancouver to Calgary to represent the Beedie School of Business at the Haskayne 24 Hour National Case Competition, hosted by the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary. Teams of four competed in this three-day event, which challenged students from top Canadian MBA programs to compete in a pressure-filled environment. Sixteen competing teams were presented with information on an existing company and expected to solve real-life problems. Their business strategies were presented to a panel of senior business executives and critiqued on creativity, insight, substance and plausibility of implementation.
The Beedie team members were:
Lucas Mitchell, Javier Glatt, Rob Graham, Rachelle Hay
Brian Peterson, Tom Malcolm, Erica Hakonson, Chris Russell
“Don’t just go to compete, go there to win!” These enthusiastic words of advice came from Neil Abramson, our Emerging Markets Professor at SFU. I smiled in response, and wondered how we could really make it happen.
Balancing our usual mountain of assignments, group projects and presentations with competition preparation was no mean feat. Practice began in the months leading up to the competition and the teams began to gel as we sacrificed our Saturdays for the cause. With the support of SFU staff members and students from past MBA cohorts, we began a training regime. We carried out case simulation after case simulation, and by incorporating feedback from judges we tightened our strategy as time went on.
Thursday 8th March, 2012
The flight to Calgary passed quickly and we were soon greeted by surprisingly warm weather upon arrival. After settling in, we made our way to the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business to attend the opening reception, where we were treated to keynote speeches by Patrick Lor, CEO Fotolia, and Gary Kovacs, CEO Mozilla Corporation. Through personal photographs and witty anecdotes, these CEOs shared insights from their trials and experiences over the years. As the evening progressed we took advantage of the chance to network with our fellow competitors from across Canada, chatting over cheese plates and samosas. As the night wrapped-up we reconvened in our teams to confirm our game plan for following day. A full night’s sleep before the approaching storm was in order, so we all bade each other farewell for the evening.
Friday 9th March, 2012
Bright and early, we made our way to the Haskayne School of Business, eager to receive our team envelope which would reveal the identity of the case company and contain the full competition case. Upon arrival we were escorted to our individual team rooms. Team names had been assigned to hide the identities and university origins of the teams. The name “Team Fook” was allotted to Brian Peterson, Tom Malcolm, Erica Hakonson and Chris Russell, while “Team Molson Coors” was assigned to Lucas Mitchell, Javier Glatt, Rob Graham and Rachelle Hay.
When the envelope was ripped open we were met with a 43-page case, authored by Chuck Warnica, Oil & Gas Associate at CIBC Commercial Banking. The case focused on DIRTT Environmental Solutions, recently named one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies and recipient of the Best Managed Award (sponsored by Deloitte, CIBC, National Post, and Queen’s School of Business). Based on DIRTT’s exceptional track record of explosive growth and exceptional financial performance, teams were to build a comprehensive and sustainable growth strategy for the company, carrying them forward for the next two, five and ten years, including a liquidity event in the medium term.
Like horses on a racetrack we took off and ploughed through the case, examining financial records, performance indicators and competitor profiles. As the hours crept by, the walls of our private team room became covered from end to end in flip chart pages detailing our analysis and ideas. Over time, we hacked away at our computers, building the deck and creating graphs, models and pro formas to assess and support our recommendations.
That afternoon each team was allowed 20 minutes with a Certified Accountant. We squeezed in as many questions as we possibly could, but before we knew it the 20 minutes had flown by and we were racing to incorporate the CGA’s feedback into our strategy.
Saturday 10th March, 2012
The work continued long into the wee hours of Saturday morning, but with the help of coffee, Doritos, and committed teammates, we encouraged each other to push through until we were satisfied with the caliber of our work. We had set our standards high and we were determined to give the competing schools a run for their money. After a few more grueling hours, we agreed to call it a night and headed back to our hotel rooms for a brief catnap before suiting up for the morning presentations.
Later that morning, with the team wearing matching suits and loaded with even more caffeine, we made our way back to the competition where the teams pitched their strategies to the panel of judges. This was immediately followed by an antagonizing Q&A session where team members addressed a barrage of criticisms and queries from the executive panel members.
By lunch time the four team finalists had been announced – with two of the four teams consisting of Team Fook and Team Molson Coors! Overcome with a mélange of excitement and exhaustion, we quickly ate lunch before being escorted to private preparation team rooms. The finalists were given one hour to tweak their presentations before presenting to a new panel of judges which consisted of leading Calgary businessmen, including Miles Nixon, DIRTT’s very own CFO and VP Finance. Each team was then drilled relentlessly in the Q&A session that followed.
The competition results were not revealed until the formal awards dinner that evening, with Team Molson Coors and Team Fook from SFU’s Beedie School of Business placing second and fourth respectively. The DeGroote team from McMaster University placed third, with a team from the Haskayne School of Business the overall winners.
All in all, it had been a gruelling but rewarding weekend, putting our MBA learning to the test. At this stage, it was only fitting that we make a toast to our achievements and to the Beedie School of Business. The celebratory sound of clinking glasses brought the evening to a close.
We would like to extend our gratitude to the SFU staff, faculty and past cohort members that assisted us along the way and helped to make our success possible. We are especially grateful to Jeff Nehajowich for his unwavering support.
Team Molson Coors (2nd place):
Team Fooks (4th place):
“Securing” an internship
Writing this post I am in the fifth month of my internship with Ecotrust Canada. Ecotrust is a federal charity that self-identifies as an ENGO and an enterprising nonprofit, working towards a conservation economy for BC. The objective of this posting is to explain, based on my personal experience, the importance of using your network to secure an internship. As some of you may have heard, it is not about finding “a” job (internship) but rather “the” job. I believe I’ve succeeded in achieving the latter of the two.
Coming into Vancouver from Athens one thing I didn’t take into consideration was population. Having in mind populated cities of North America and, let’s be honest, my reference point of Hollywood films, I thought Vancouver would be much larger. I simply didn’t check in advance to discover that Vancouver and the Lower Mainland has a population of just over two million people! Coming from Athens, with a population in excess of five million, I can only say that Vancouver seemed very small and slow paced.
Networking is always an important aspect of community building, but within a business community centered around only two million people, it becomes crucial. I have, since arriving, made a serious effort to attend events, tweet, connect through LinkedIn and slowly but steadily build both my presence and my network here.
Simply… do it!
During the first couple of weeks of the MBA, I was elected as Co-President of SFU Net Impact Beedie Chapter, a student run chapter with its own mandate: “Our mission as emerging business leaders is to make a positive environmental, social and economic impact in the Vancouver community by advocating responsible and sustainable business practices.” In recognition of my commitment I was given a complimentary seat at a table sponsored by SFU at the 5th Annual Spring Gala and Young Agents Awards. At the event I had the pleasure to meet Brenda Kuecks, President of Ecotrust Canada when both of us arrived early and had casual time to time to talk and learn about each other’s background.
After keeping track of this relationship and calling to ask Brenda to be one of our speakers for the 20/30 Speaker Series hosted by Net Impact, I asked for an information interview. I was honored to have such an insightful meeting (jargon term: info interview), learning not only about Ecotrust Canada and its work but also much about the non – profit sector more generally. Being a student can open a lot of “doors”. Used strategically, these doors can lead you to people willing to provide good guidance.
Be knowledgeable of your environment
During the conversation, I introduced a funding opportunity that exists for students-researchers in Canadian Universities through the Mitacs organization, and specifically the Mitacs Accelerate Project that sponsors research based internships. It is an important funding opportunity that may help some of you garner financial support to put your experience and knowledge to the test in the workforce.
Long story short
It worked! Since October of 2011 I have been a member of Ecotrust Canada working as a Project Analyst in Economic Development. The project is titled “Business planning for social enterprises” and it has been a great experience. Not only am I getting to put into practice what I have learned during the MBA program, but at the same time I am receiving great guidance and insights to further improve my work.
- Connect: Be careful and be sure to personalize everything (especially LinkedIn invitations)
- Be sure to utilize your title: Being a graduate student opens a lot of doors
- Build your online presence and network
Also build your offline presence and network (sometimes it will bring you into a different set of
I am grateful and would like to thank Brenda Kuecks, President of Ecotrust Canada for offering me this opportunity, Oba Harding, Director of Business Development, Mitacs for providing his valuable help in securing a smooth and successful application, Jeremy Stone, Economic Development Project Manager of Ecotrust Canada for his close guidance and resourceful feedback on my work and of course all the staff at the organization that welcomed me at their “home”.
I would also like to mention the faculty, staff and fellow MBA candidates for their support and active presence during this important step of my life. They have all enriched my experience and have been really valuable to me in many different ways.
About George Chatzivasileiou
George is an MBA Candidate working at the nonprofit organization Ecotrust Canada as an Economic Development Project Analyst. This is an intern position co-sponsored by Mitacs Accelerate Program and of course Ecotrust Canada. George holds a BS in Shipping, Trade and Transport. He enjoys learning, thus you are most likely to see him at events with topics about economy, sustainability, social entrepreneurship and of course shipping. He is also blogging at g-controversial.blogspot.com.
On January 6th 2012, an excited and energetic team of MBA students from the Beedie School of Business (SFU) landed in Edmonton for the 2012 MBA Games. The expectation of a frozen city dissipated as a warm Edmonton welcomed MBA students from across the country. Large Greyhound buses lined up at the airport uploading groups of the nation’s next great business minds and leaders. Although most participants were sleep deprived, one could clearly witness the adrenaline beating through everyone’s veins.
The MBA Games is an annual Canada-wide competition that brings together MBA students from across the country. The MBA Games originated at Queen’s University in 1988 and continued there until 1997. Since then, the MBA Games have been hosted at various schools. As a ritual, the MBA Games are held in the city of the reigning champion.
Sunshine peaked through the clouds as buses dropped off herds of colour and clothing coordinated – representing different schools – groups of MBAs at the Westin Hotel in downtown Edmonton. The city seemed to have livened up with the newly arrived guests. The sounds of exciting cheers and laughter became great additions to the city of Edmonton for the weekend of January 6th to 8th. Let the MBA Games begin!
The MBA Games involved academic, spirit, and athletic events, and opportunities to network with future leaders. SFU MBA students showcased a great deal of cohesiveness and team support throughout the games.
“BEEDIE BEEDIE BEEDIE, S-F-U, BEEDIE, SIMON, BEEDIE, FRASER, BEEDIE BEEDIE BEEDIE, S-F-U!” As the team cheered loudly at each sporting event, they displayed significant signs of confidence and pride.
As intimidating as the games were, the team worked together as one. It was apparent that not only did SFU bring its competitiveness, but also its value in friendliness. SFU students easily struck conversation with fellows from the opposite team, commenting and praising each other’s efforts.
“The games were a fantastic experience! Our team did the Beedie School of Business proud with strong showings in the academic, spirit, and athletic events. Most importantly, we worked really well together as a team and showed hundreds of students from business schools across the country that the Beedie MBA is a world class program” said Lucas Mitchell, Team Captain for SFU at the games.
Colin Stansfield, a SFU MBA candidate and representative, reflected with a smile on his face, “It was a spectacular showing on the part of our academic teams. We knew it would be challenging to compete against students from other schools where they run two-year programs, but the diversity inherent in our program – the wide variety of experience that we bring with us to Beedie – stood us in good stead. Our teams achieved remarkable results and I could not be prouder of the hard work put in by our academic competitors.”
Each night, social events offered opportunities for students to mingle with others under a more relaxed environment. Dancing and celebrating a day’s hard work, participants enjoyed each other’s company and what the nightlife the city had to offer.
More than 500 people representing 19 schools across Canada competed in the games. Days began as early as 8am and schedules were jam packed with activities! Spirit teams travelled around the city of Edmonton using a 2-day transit pass given to everyone by the Games committee. Academic events were mentally challenging, as teams were given tight time constraints to package the best solution for the business problems presented. Sporting events were exciting; participants and supporters in these events made loud echoes in the University of Alberta. Faces of hope, smiles of joy, and eyes of anticipation, every participant was engaged in the spirit of the games.
“We were amazed at the amount of skill at the sporting events. Not only did every team have talented athletes, but they were quality people as well. There were some amazing games and we were happy to have given some of the top teams a run for their money. I’ve never been prouder of any other team!” spoke Brian Peterson, an achieved athlete representing SFU.
On the last day, every MBA candidate listened intently to the keynote speaker Court Carruthers eloquently express his interpretation of the theme of this year’s MBA Games – innovation and the future of technology. As the MBA games came to an end after many hours of conquering challenges and utilizing great minds to solve real business problems, the winning team led the crowd to the dance floor after dinner with one last celebration before concluding MBA Games 2012 in Edmonton.
In retrospect, the games wouldn’t have been so amazing without the support of the members on the team. For the team from SFU, many students had lost their voice cheering on their teammates throughout the games. This experience will definitely last a lifetime. As many friendships were solidified, new buds of networks sparked throughout the trip. The city of Edmonton has made a great contribution as the backdrop for the amazing things that happened on this weekend.
To view SFU’s LipDubbed Youtube Video for the MBA Games intro: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XE4oXz193UQ&feature=related
I’ve always liked the idea of holding an MBA but I didn’t start out in business so it only emerged as a reality for me in the last couple of years. I completed a biology degree at the University of Victoria in 2006 and thought I would follow my classmates in to research or medicine. That thought was short-lived, however, and within a week of writing my final exams I packed my bags and moved to Whistler. Read the rest of this entry »
Every year near the end of July, Vancouver experiences a 4-day fireworks spectacle that rivals most international fireworks competitions. Since 1990, the residents of Vancouver and the Metro Vancouver have been able to look forward to this incredible show, as they line the beaches, parks, and hills that surround Vancouver’s English Bay to catch the show. As a matter of fact, it brings nearly half a million people, from all over Vancouver’s Lower Mainland (Metro Vancouver, 2010 Est. population 2.7M). The fact of the matter is that for retail businesses in the West End, English Bay, and Kitsilano, the fireworks mean a huge boost in sales. Further, corporate sponsorship of the event changed drastically in 2008 when HSBC withdrew as the principal sponsor, forcing the event to look at a multiple sponsor model.
While for most students of SFU Graduate Business these four shows spread over two weeks mean four nights off and some great entertainment, others see it as an opportunity to have something in common with a local Vancouver business. The Vancouver Celebration of Light is sponsored by companies such as The Keg, London Drugs, HSBC, Concord Pacific, FCV (an up and coming interactive agency), BC Hydro, and the YVR airport. With such an impressive sponsor line-up (these are BIG BC businesses) it would be wise for a newly minted MBA student to get involved as a volunteer with the logistics and organization of such a huge event. The SFU Business’ Career Management Centre highly encourages volunteer involvement with local events and charities. This is one of the easier ways to gain exposure and come across as a hard worker in the eyes of potential hiring managers.
Another example of a great event to get involved with is the Vancouver Canary Derby. The Canary Derby is a soapbox race, held in Burnaby’s Deer Lake Park, that raises money for research toward early cancer detection. The race teams consist of local Vancouver companies, many of which are in growth phases and rapidly hiring staff. The extra exposure in a volunteer situation may just give someone that boost of a familiar face once the interview comes. For others it may provide an interview opportunity where one might not have previously existed. To read more about the Canary Derby or get involved you can visit the Official Canary Derby Site. I also encourage you to read this past post by A Few Good Minds MBA Blog.
We live in a world where organizations pay billions of dollars to have their logo front and centre during the most watched sporting event of all time (The FIFA World Cup). For the most part, this money is well spent, especially when you’re a company that will see a million-dollar plus revenue boost with as little as a single percentage in market-share increase. These are companies like Adidas and Nike, Budweiser (Anheuser Busch InBev) and Miller (SABMiller), or Microsoft and Apple. For smaller companies looking for a big increase in sales, events like the super-bowl, world-cup, and the Olympics are out of financial reach for prime sponsorship coverage; enter ambush marketing. Depicted in the video above, several beautiful women with the promotional colors and logo of a small Dutch brewery called Bavaria NV dance, strip, and get escorted from the stadium by police… Sounds odd until you learn that Budweiser is an official sponsor of the FIFA World Cup, and these girls were getting a lot of attention. This is the definition of ambush marketing, and like the guy that strips down naked and streaks across the field with the web address for an online gambling casino, it can receive a lot of attention. The SFU MBA Program in Vancouver has two professors that are particularly interested in this type of marketing, so much so that they’ve published a paper about it. Read the rest of this entry »
Every year in April, the SFU Alumni Board organizes what we refer to as an “MBA tune-up”. This half-day MBA networking and learning event features seminars from two of the Business Faculty’s most reputable professors. The SFU Business professors that present at the event are invited based on their current research projects. The idea is that MBA Alumni who have been out of the educational arena for some time have an opportunity to learn about current business research. This year’s SFU EMBA “Tune-Up”, scheduled for mid-April helps to exemplify the connectedness and breadth of the SFU MBA Alumni group. The two presenting professors will be Leyland Pitt (Marketing) and Anton Theunissen (Finance, Risk Management). Both of these professors are actively involved in the current MBA and EMBA classes offered by SFU Business. Currently these networking reunions are only available to Executive MBA Alumni from SFU, however there are plans to open this popular event to all MBA Alumni from SFU Business in the future. For more on this, read on: Read the rest of this entry »
This post is part-one of a multi-part series from the international branding expert Christof Appel. Christof was born and raised in South Africa, and has been consulting with individuals and groups on their online brands for over 5 years. In this series Christof will write about personal branding techniques which can be used by current and soon-to-be Graduate Business students.
Students at SFU’s Graduate Business School have the unique ability to be involved with his “Mastermind” program. This is an elite group selected to be involved in an ongoing online workshop with Christof, building their own personal online brands. As newly minted Graduate Business students in Vancouver, this online presence is critical for networking and job seeking. Be sure to read Christof’s first article below, and feel free to comment or email for more detail. Read the rest of this entry »
Long commute to B-school? These Podcasts will help pass the time. Best of all, you’ll arrive a little smarter and be warmed up for the day’s MBA learning experience. Below are a series of links that will take you to podcast “channels” suited well to graduate business students, or anyone keenly interested in business.
Many of these Podcasts can be listened to and easily understood buy non-business students.
Every MBA student can use a helping hand once in a while. Here are a few tried, tested and true links that can give you a leg up in SFU’s MBA program, whether you’re applying to join us, or your a current student at SFU in Vancouver. As a matter of fact, these links links are so universal, that even if you’re planing to study at LSB or Insead you’ll still want to keep them handy. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s opportunities to meet business people like Jim Derbyshire, Mentor-in-Residence, that truly define the power and depth of the SFU community. Vancouver is often thought of as a small town, with few global career opportunities and a limited network to the outside world. Jim Derbyshire, hailing from the UK, and who has grown companies in the UK, New Zealand and Ottawa, Canada, would completely disagree. Jim is a Mentor-in-Residence for Simon Fraser University’s (Vancouver) Venture Connection Network. Throughout his nearly 35 year career, Jim has been a serial entrepreneur, Angel Investor, CEO, Mentor, and Consultant in several different industries and vocations. Jim has a very large global network and knowledge base which he is more than happy to share with the SFU students who attend his one-on-one advising sessions. Read more about my experience in an advising session with Jim: Read the rest of this entry »
– Homer Simpson
It’s a brand new semester here at SFU’s Segal Business School, which means it’s time for me to write about my impressions of last semester in the brief period of time I have before it gets pushed out of my brain.
The beginning of the school year can be a frightening time for new students, and business school is no exception. Coming into the part-time Management of Technology/Biotechnology (MOT) MBA program I knew that the majority of people in my class would have more work experience than the average MBA class and, as one of the younger students in the class, I would be at a bit of a disadvantage in this area. I was feeling a little intimidated, especially when I heard what some of the more experienced students had accomplished. Fortunately for me, our first course was an intensive three-day leadership course with Gary Wagenheim as our instructor. Read the rest of this entry »
“Common sense refined” is Brian Josling’s tag line, and the moment Brian started speaking it was clear that he has a large amount of “street” experience for our hopeful MBA’s to learn from. Brian did a speaking tour here at Segal; he began by speaking to the Management of Technology MBA’s, and moved on to the Full Time MBA class. The average age of this class is about 26, and most everyone has fewer than five years of work experience. The program only takes a year, which in Brian’s words “will seem like it was 3 weeks long”. His talk was one in a series of seminars organized by the SFU Graduate Business program’s Career Management Centre (CMC). The CMC’s main goal is to prepare the graduate business students at Segal for the world after the MBA. Brian’s talk was about as congruent with this goal as it comes, for a brief summary click here: Read the rest of this entry »