GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR, NL
– A team of three first-semester students at College of the North Atlantic’s (CNA) Grand Falls-Windsor campus earned the top trophy at this year’s Business Case Competition. Ashley Hoskins, Kayla Piccoli, and Johnny Alubu Selemani competed as Best Kind Solutions and were honoured at a special awards ceremony on Saturday.
During the two-day competition, teams were given a business case describing a company facing a specific problem. They had to analyze the problem, recommend an innovative solution, develop a comprehensive implementation plan, and present their proposal to a panel of industry judges.
This year’s company was a global pizza chain with a corporate footprint in Japan that had to decide whether to expand in existing markets or look for alternative markets in the wider region. Best Kind Solutions had 20 minutes to convince the company’s board to expand in existing markets, demonstrating it would provide the best return on investment. The three teammates also had to defend this recommendation in a 10-minute question and answer session.
“The Business Case Competition provides students an opportunity to develop the practical hard and soft skills required to lead in today’s business world,” said Stephen Warren, CNA’s Dean of Business and IT. “The skills required to successfully analyze and present recommendations from a business case analysis to your peers, faculty and business leaders requires constant practice and development. These skills aren’t intuitive for most and it’s only through putting yourself in a vulnerable situation where you grow the essential leadership skills demanded by today’s business environment.”
Piccoli said Best Kind Solutions faced impressive competition against nine other teams from the Corner Brook, Grand Falls-Windsor, and Prince Philip Drive campuses.
“Winning after such a challenging weekend was extremely rewarding. Knowing the great talent we went up against makes the act of winning such an exhilarating feeling,” she said, thanking her team’s teachers and coaches. “The best part of competing was overcoming the fear of public speaking. Not only did we succeed in public speaking, we succeeded in growing as people. This competition has encouraged me to continue growing and becoming more confident in myself and my skills. Especially since we only began our business studies in September!”
Hoskins said a lot of work went into the team’s success in Grand Falls-Windsor.
“We went through a case study under the guidance of our coaches David [Ellis] and Holly [Dwyer], and learned what kind of material to look out for, and then set off on our own,” she said. “We looked at a couple cases and tried to prepare as if we already [were at the competition]. We spent the week before the competition spending at least a couple hours a day mainly practicing our presentation skills, as well as learning each other's strengths and weaknesses. We work together well as a team, and we play off each other's strengths wonderfully.”
As the first-place team, Best Kind Solutions will now represent CNA at the Scotiabank Vanier College National Marketing Case Competition in Montreal next March. It will be another unique experience that Selemani and his first-semester teammates are looking forward to – once exams are over, of course.
“I actually don't know what to expect, seeing that it's taking place in March 2024 I don't want to raise any further anxiety until after final exams,” he said. “I am sure that within the weeks to come, the coaches will give us an idea of what to expect. Because I am bilingual, I look forward to the experience of the duality of language in the next round of competition.”
Best Kind Solutions was one of four teams honoured at the awards ceremony.
Grand Falls-Windsor’s Everest Solutions (Eric Dillon, Darlene Ireland, Corwin Greenham, and Brittany Roberts) finished in second place, with Corner Brook’s Black Rock Consulting (Divine Ibok, Vansh Patel, Andrew Mosher, and Kosuke Toba) placing third.
Insight Solutions from Grand Falls-Windsor (Ankit Manhas and Daniel Pinsent) won the prestigious Bob Hearn Memorial award, which was established in memory of the former Grand Falls-Windsor campus instructor. It is presented to the team showing the most perseverance and determination throughout the weekend.
All the students who competed represent competence and the spirit of determination. That’s what keeps Judge Jhoanna Co, Royal Bank of Canada’s Business Relationship Manager for Central Newfoundland, returning year after year. This was her third year judging the competition and she says the students always impress her.
“It has been a great weekend not just to show up as one of the judges, but also to meet all of these amazing students and coaches,” she said, congratulating everyone who participated. “They all looked excited, empowered and hopefully they left the Grand Falls-Windsor campus with pride. It’s always a pleasure to work with the organizers and most especially the students.”
Campus Director Joan Pynn, one of the organizers of the competition, echoed Co’s sentiment.
“This competition is an incredible event for our students. To watch how they grow just over the weekend event is amazing for those of us involved in the event’s organization,” she said. “To see their self confidence levels blossom is such a positive experience.”
For more information about the School of Business and IT programs available at CNA, visit www.cna.nl.ca
College of the North Atlantic
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