March 21-23rd Syracuse, New York.
I was recently asked, what defines me as an MBA Student? I replied that I am not defined by the tests I take or the grades I get; rather, I am defined by the friendships I make and the experiences I foster. To me, business case competitions are vital MBA experiences that foster teamwork, friendships, and of course competitiveness!
Being selected to represent SFU Beedie School of Business at the Whitman Case Competition in Syracuse, NY with three of my friends: Karina Burrows, Dominik Desbois, and Danielle Friesen was yet another opportunity to experience a new challenge. Out of roughly thirty teams across North America, our team was selected as one of eight finalists to fly into Syracuse and present our case to a panel of business judges. The pressure was on, because a week earlier another Beedie team took 1st place in HEC sustainability case competition in Montreal, Quebec.
We had one of the best experiences as a team. Flying into Syracuse, NY we had one purpose: to give the best performance we could. This purpose united us in the desire to design a presentation that was simple, logical and could not be refuted. After settling into our hotel rooms the evening before the competition, we spent hours preparing our performance. Our motto was ‘hard work pays off’ and we prepared well into the night. We ran through our presentation almost a dozen times during which we tweaked the oral and visual presentation, played devil’s advocates, took turns asking each other questions, and gave valuable constructive feedback.
The next day, the final hours before the competition were the most stressful. We were faced with many doubts—mainly with conditions of the competition. Would the conditions be favorable to the presenter or not, we wondered? In order to mitigate our doubts, we not only memorized our own individual performance by heart; we also practiced without the use of visual aids just in case all the computers in the building crashed and we had to present without electricity. It sounds like overkill, but it really made the difference when we actually presented. As it turns out, there were no monitors for us to use as visual aids! Our team really stepped up and the best feeling for me was that out of all our practice runs, our live presentation was by far the best and flawless of all.
Hard work really does pay off. This was the first time the SFU Beedie MBA’s entered the Whitman case competition in Syracuse and we won 3rd place! It felt incredible to travel 3,625 km and set the precedent by beating 27 other MBA teams across North America.
Denis Mikhailov is a full-time MBA Candidate at Beedie School of Business. With six years experience in the forestry industry and an undergraduate degree in Political Science with a European Concentration, Denis is also the Captain of the Beedie MBA Games Team and President of the Graduate Business Student Association. An avid rock-climber and snowboarder with an entrepreneurial spirit, Denis lives life to the fullest. Follow him on Twitter @carpelovedm