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HBA1s take on real-world challenge in BCG Case Competition

  • Communications
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  • Oct 27, 2020
HBA1s take on real-world challenge in BCG Case Competition

Ivey’s HBA1 students will have their analytical thinking and presentation skills put to the test through the 25th Annual Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Case Competition, which begins today.

The students have been divided into 80 teams and each team will analyze three cases, one per day, and present findings and recommendations to a panel of judges. Ivey faculty members and guest BCG judges will then pick eight teams – one from each HBA1 section – to move on to the finalist round on Oct. 30 where their elevator pitch videos will be shown to a panel of BCG judges.

The competition is part of the students’ Learning Through Action course, which is designed to enable students to apply concepts and skills learned in HBA1 to real-world situations.

An introduction to the world of consulting

During today’s kick-off presentation, Kyle Ruttan, HBA ’09, a Partner in BCG’s Toronto office, gave the students advice on how to approach the competition, based on his experience participating in it as an HBA student, and what he has learned from his consulting career. Here are some of his tips:

  1. Be crystal clear about the main issue that you are addressing;
  2. Get a solid fact base and identify the issues;
  3. Outline the range of alternatives;
  4. Prioritize the issues you need to address;
  5. Divide up work amongst the team pragmatically;
  6. Lead with the answer to set the stage for a strong presentation; and,
  7. Have fun!

“I think you’ll look back on these experiences as some of the most fun you’ll have,” he said.

Celebrating 25 years of the BCG Case Competition

The competition is a result of a longstanding partnership between Ivey and BCG and Ruttan said Ivey graduates have been a major source of talent at BCG over the years.

Cliff Grevler, HBA ’97, Senior Partner and Managing Director of BCG and Managing Partner of BCG Canada, said he remembers participating in the early years of the competition and enjoyed his first exposure to consulting.

“It is very exciting to be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Ivey and BCG case competition this year. BCG’s partnership with Ivey has been a mutually rewarding relationship over the years and the annual case competition has always served as a valuable learning experience for first-year HBA students,” he said.  “It has been great to see the competition evolve and I know our staff are always thrilled to meet the next generation of Ivey HBAs. We look forward to continuing to participate for years to come.”

Meet the BCG judges

What makes the experience truly unique is many of the judges have been through the experience themselves. Each year, the majority of the BCG judges are Ivey alumni who competed in the competition when they were HBA students. This year, nine of the 12 BCG judges are Ivey alumni:

  • Brad Baker, HBA ’07, Managing Partner and Director in BCG’s Toronto Office;
  • Shawn Betel, HBA ’11, MBA ’17, Consultant;
  • Sean Chen, HBA ’19, Associate;
  • Caitlin Cranmer, HBA ’18, Associate;
  • Tom Grainger, HBA ’17, Consultant;
  • Macy Hong, HBA ’18, Associate;
  • Kyle Ruttan, HBA ’09, a Partner in BCG’s Toronto office;
  • Jay Sharma, MSc ’18, Associate; and,
  • Katherine Tang, HBA ’19, Associate.

Additional BCG judges include Diana Jechel, Project Lead and Associate Recruiting Director in BCG’s Toronto office; Whitney Hughes-Plummer, Managing Partner and Director and the Recruiting Director for BCG’s Calgary Office; and Kelly Sun, Consultant.