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Scotiabank International Case Competition a mix of business savvy and culture

  • Communications
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  • Mar 14, 2016
Scotiabank International Case Competition a mix of business savvy and culture

Students from the Instituto Tecnológico Autonomo de México: Adam Martin, Diego Ruiz de Chavez Velez, Maria Castaneda Laris, and Maelym Medina Castillo prepare their case.

Twelve teams, nine countries and four days of one unique international learning experience.

Sponsored by Scotiabank for the past 16 years, Ivey hosted the Scotiabank International Case Competition (SICC), welcoming students from all over the world to come and tackle a real-life business case and indulge in new cultures.

“You’re thrown together for such an intense but short amount of time, it’s basically impossible not to form some sort of tight bond,” said event Co-chair Corrine Tansowny. “I just loved being able to see everybody’s different perspectives, but also how everybody came together and had an amazing time.”

Here are this year's 12 participating schools:

  • Canada - UBC Sauder School of Business
  • Germany - Munster School of Business and Economics
  • Hong Kong - Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)
  • Hong Kong - University of Hong Kong
  • Hungary - Corvinus University of Budapest
  • Mexico - Instituto Tecnológico Autonomo de México (ITAM)
  • Netherlands - Maastricht University School of Business and Economics
  • New Zealand - University of Otago
  • Singapore - National University of Singapore (NUS Business School)
  • Singapore - Singapore Management University (SMU)
  • United States - Heavener School of Business, University of Florida
  • United States - Northeastern D'Amore-McKim School of Business

Getting down to business

Students had the opportunity to tour the Stratford Festival where they received their case from Executive Director Anita Gaffney. The case looked at the Festival’s current strategic efforts and the ongoing challenges it faces in ensuring a long-term sustainable operation. 

For student Co-chair David Zhang, the Stratford Festival held a special significance. Zhang grew up going to the Stratford Festival with his family, and having the opportunity to give the students a behind-the-scenes look into the Festival served as a real highlight.

“Anita and the volunteers were so passionate about conveying the impact the Festival has on not just local jobs, but how it ties into what it means to be Canadian and all the diversity that we have,” said Zhang.

He pointed out that a lot of the competitors who visited Stratford didn’t realize how much international significance the Festival has, and the case helped change their perspective that arts drive business, too.

“In business we always think about traditional sectors, but the Festival is one of the main drivers of economic activity in Stratford,” said Zhang. “The beauty of a live case was that the students were helping Stratford solve a current problem. They could feel the urgency and brought that into consideration when prepping the case.”

Teams were given time to prepare their case and then present to a panel of 12 judges comprised of Ivey alumni. After a round of preliminary presentations, four teams had the opportunity to give a final presentation to all the judges and their fellow peers. The Maastricht University School of Business and Economics, Netherlands, took first place, with the University of Florida’s Heavener Business School as runner up.

Time for fun and games

It wasn’t just all work and no play for the teams.

Students participated in a variety of activities from Laser Quest and mini-sticks hockey, to a campus-wide photo challenge, all the way to trying traditional Canadian cuisine – poutine.

Points from the activities were allocated to teams in hopes of winning the Spirit Cup, which was introduced to the event last year. In addition to the points, all participants voted for the team they thought demonstrated the most spirit and deserved special recognition for their contributions to the overall experience. The team from the University of Otago, New Zealand, came away with this special recognition.

For Tansowny, the Spirit Cup was one of her favourite parts of the whole competition.  

“Business is so much about the relationships that you build with people, and that’s what the Spirit Cup is about,” she said. “It’s about the enthusiasm and energy that you bring to the competition every day and the comradery between the members of a team and how well they work together.”

An international impact

Both Tansowny and Zhang expressed a high level of passion and appreciation for the emphasis that SICC places on diversity.

“The international aspect is everything,” said Tansowny. “Hearing from our exec afterwards and getting their feedback about how they bonded with teams and found where they fit in with the other teams was really beautiful.”

Zhang added that not only was it great to see the diversity among the competitors, but through working with the SICC exec team he realized just how diverse Ivey is itself. 

“We often focus on the international schools that are coming in and the diversity they bring, but through this experience I’ve also learned just how international the students here at Ivey are,” said Zhang. “It’s wonderful that we bring in so many international teams, but to be able to work with a team that is already so international is a privilege.”