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New year, new challenge: HBA Kick-Off Case Competition

  • Communications
  • |
  • Jan 7, 2019
New year, new challenge: HBA Kick-Off Case Competition

Alan Gertner, HBA ’06, Chief Retail Officer of Canopy, speaking at the HBA Kick-Off Case Competition

On their first day of the winter semester, HBA1 students dove straight into a case competition.

The HBA Kick-Off Case Competition is the second of six Learning Through Action (LTA) events. It challenges students to examine a merger or acquisition and make recommendations on how to move forward.

But unlike the BCG Case Competition, the first LTA event of the year, Kick-Off doesn’t involve a written case.

Instead, students are given a Dropbox folder with access to research, data, and policy papers. They’re also free to use anything else publicly available. With so much information to sift through and just 12 hours to complete the assignment, students run the risk of having too much information, and not enough direction. They need to decide for themselves what’s most important – and fast.

The competition

This year’s competition was all about cannabis. With legalization in Canada so new, it’s a topic that many business schools have only scratched the surface of.

“We have the chance to take the lead,” Ivey lecturer Eric Janssen said during the opening presentation.

The challenge was for students to examine Canopy Growth Corporation’s acquisition of Hiku Brands and provide recommendations on how to merge the two cultures and be successful going forward.

Ivey alum Alan Gertner, HBA ’06, Chief Retail Officer of Canopy, spoke at the Kick-Off closing presentation to share his perspective working in the cannabis industry and going through different mergers and acquisitions along the way. He addressed the difficulties companies are facing, and the numerous opportunities that will come in the future. Comparing the cannabis industry to alcohol, he acknowledged legalization is only just the beginning. The industry faces a negative stigma it needs to overcome.

“We’re only in the second inning. The revolution has really just begun,” Gertner said.

The winners

For the HBA Kick-Off Case Competition, there were eight winning teams: One from each section.

  • Section 1 – Team 5 – Josh Bright, Erica Hamilton, Bronwyn Newell, Linda Ni, Braeden Salverda, Jason Uruthiran, and Maxim Verzunov
  • Section 2 – Team 3 – Harrison Barford, Julia Campbell, Alysaa Co, Jake Gibson, Chapman Ma, Erica Yarmol-Matusiak, and Phyllis Yiu
  • Section 3 – Team 6 – Afif Bhimani, Jasmeet Gill, Claire Kumagai, Connor Mcleman, James Newman, Breanna Woolard, and Jessie Zrnec
  • Section 4 – Team 5 – Tom Graham, Hannah Kim, Laura King, Andrew Muchan, Jordan Nichols, Himani Trivedi, Mitchell White, and Michael Woolfson
  • Section 5 – Team 7 – Sanjot Boyal, Elisa Chen, Jessica Francis, Ricky Hahn, Jack Heinzl, Nick Katsiris, Ben Shendelman, Katie Zanatta
  • Section 6 – Team 4 – Kareem El Menyawi, Eli Goldfarb, Jennifer Ho, Teddy Kassa, Jacob Tawil, Cindy Wang, and Joy Zheng
  • Section 7 – Team 8 – Mohammed Al Habib, Yianni Demestihas, Catherine Goncalves, Ali Grieve, Jonatan Kamenetsky, Nicholas Oliver, Shai Wallach, and Veronica Zhao
  • Section 8 – Team 4 – Nathalie El-Zakhem, Saige He, Brock Lumbard, Helen Schreyer, Matthew Stasiuk, Venus Tang, Jason Wong, and Peter Zhou