Students try hands at business strategy

Boardrooms in downtown Red Deer were abuzz last Friday, as business students from across the province strategized on how best to bring a Chinese beer to the Canadian market.

Boardrooms in downtown Red Deer were abuzz last Friday, as business students from across the province strategized on how best to bring a Chinese beer to the Canadian market.

Teams from 13 post-secondary institutions were in the city for the Alberta Deans of Business Case Competition, an annual event that was hosted this year by Red Deer College’s Donald School of Business.

Each team was issued a business case based on the real-world experiences of Hi-bridge Consulting Corp. of Vancouver, and given a day to develop recommendations.

They presented these to a panel of judges on Saturday, with the top three teams awarded cash prizes.

“It was a pretty intense day, but at the same time it was fun,” said Caitlin Moffat, who is in her first year of Red Deer College’s business administration program and was a member of the RDC team.

Moffat said her group finished its preparations at about 11:30 p.m. Friday night, and then went before the judges at 8:40 a.m. the following morning. The experience, she said, was invaluable.

Darcy Mykytyshyn, dean of the Donald School of Business, agreed that the competition gave its young participants a taste of what the business world is like.

That realism was heightened this year by the fact that a number of downtown companies opened their boardrooms to the teams.

Moffat and her RDC classmates, for instance, gathered in the offices of Blackrock Oilfield Service Ltd.

“We were able to partner with downtown companies to pull this event off,” said Mykytyshyn, adding that sponsoring businesses also met with the students and watched them present.

“They’re looking for great talent, and you have the best business students in Alberta participating in this competition,” he said of the resulting recruiting opportunity.

This year’s Alberta Deans of Business Case Competition also gave Mykytyshyn a chance to showcase the Donald School of Business’s downtown facilities to his counterparts from other colleges.

“They liked the space that we’ve developed; they loved the technology we have,” he said.

“They were very complimentary of our location.”

That included RDC’s City Centre Stage, where the student presentations took place.

The judges, who were selected by an Alberta Deans of Business committee, included Ryan Krutzfeldt, vice-president of operations with Collicutt Energy Services Corp.; and Jodi Foster, senior human resources consultant with Servus Credit Union Ltd.

The third judge was Shu Guo, president of Hi-bridge Consulting — the company the case was based on.

In addition to Red Deer College, the institutions taking part in the 2014 Alberta Deans of Business Case Competition were Olds College, Bow Valley College, Grande Prairie Regional College, Keyano College, Lakeland College, Lethbridge College, MacEwan University, Medicine Hat College, NAIT, NorQuest College, SAIT, and a combined team involving Portage College and Northern Lakes College.

Lakeland College received the first-place prize of $4,000, with Lethbridge College finishing second and claiming $2,500, and Grande Prairie Regional College coming in third and earning $1,500.

Moffat was joined on the RDC team by Brian Tuazon, Jeffrey Ireland and two other students whose names were not immediately available. The Olds College team consisted of Jasmine Boucher, Alyssa Campkin, Cal Haddow, Carli Wall and Laura Woodard.

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