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Fall 2012

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Case competitions build experience

Agnes Chan

Fraser Gray-Smith, BMOS’13, and Sumiya Abdul Mannan, BMOS’13, are competitors. For fun, they co-lead the case competition team for the DAN program, conducting practice sessions on Saturday mornings.

Through presenting business case studies, they train other DAN students to use their skills to analyze an actual business scenario, recommend a solution and present and defend their response before a panel of judges.

These practice sessions prepare the team of 12 students for the real thing – case competitions against schools such as MIT, Toronto, Queen’s, Laval and UC Berkley.

“The competitions are a great experience to learn what it takes to make good decisions in an intense situation,” says Sumiya, “and they are a good bridge between what we learn at school and what we’ll be doing in the business world.”

With only two years of competitions under their belt, the DAN team is making its mark. At a major competition in Edmonton, the panel of expert judges placed the team third, while the p.r. group received first place. In Ottawa, the finance case team placed fourth.

“In two years, we’re already building a strong reputation, and the judges are noticing us,” says Fraser. “Competing against known teams also builds the brand for the DAN Program as a strong business program.”

For Fraser and Sumiya, leading the team has helped them hone their leadership, coaching and communication skills. “We’ve learned how to see the potential in others, encouraging them to be their best,” adds Sumiya.

The competitions have an added benefit for the whole DAN team. “We’re training to be calm under pressure,” says Fraser. “In business, difficult decisions are made in a short period of time, so being calm enough to think through a problem without freezing up is a critical skill to master.”