Red Deer College students show business skills

Five-person student team take third place in provincial business case competition.

A Red Deer College student team puts its business smarts to the test to take third place in a province-wide competition.

The 12th Annual Alberta Deans of Business Competition brought together more than a dozen teams from post-secondary institution business-related programs.

Red Deer College’s team lead Nav Sidhu, 21, said teams were given a business scenario — they had no inkling of what it would be — and had nine hours last Friday to figure out a viable approach.

“What we have to do is give our recommendations on how to fix it, along with implementing a timeline on how to do everything,” said Sidhu, who was joined by Phoebe Marinakis, 22; Kelsie Bakker, 25; Nichia Roque, 19; and Monica Berndt, 20.

“Basically, you have to come up with a complete proposal to present to the company in nine hours,” said the fourth-year bachelor of business administration program.

It meant covering all the business bases including, financing, marketing, human relations and accounting.

The following day, the team had 12 minutes to make its pitch followed by a five-minute grilling by a three-person panel of business people at the competition last weekend, which was co-hosted by the Lethbridge College School of Business and the University of Lethbridge’s Faculty of Management.

This year’s test was to explore the feasibility of converting farm manure into biogas to produce five megawatts of electricity. A smaller operation is already producing power in Lethbridge and the challenge was to see if that model could be done on a bigger scale.

To build a bigger plant came with a projected price tag of $50 to $90 million.

“A lot of teams came up with the concept that, yes, this was feasible and this is how you can do it; or no, it’s not feasible, you should build a bunch of smaller units on the farms themselves,” said Sidhu.

“Our take was that they could do a five-megawatt facility, that there was enough manure demand around.”

Sidhu said the competition provided the students with valuable experience — not to mention the $1,500 they took home for a third-place finish.

“It really puts the students in a real world type of scenario.”

The entrepreneurial Sidhu, who graduates in December, is already well on the way to making his mark. He runs a small investment firm, a Calgary-based real estate property-flipping business and is involved in app development.

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