(from left) Nico Dirksen, Mark Ziebarth, Nathan Ziebart, Blair Baldwin and Cooper Simson. photo: contributed

Okanagan College business students place third in case competition

The team beat out 30 other student teams

Business students from the Okanagan College captured third place during the Scotiabank Canadian Case Challenge.

The competition, held at Vanier College in Montreal, melds business strategy, marketing and management into one of the most challenging collegiate competitions in the country. The first day, all 30 teams are sequestered in isolation as they wait to be given the business case. Once given the details, students have 3.5 hours to analyze the information given, put together recommendations and build a presentation to deliver to a panel of industry leaders.

“It’s a major competition, the judges are incredible and the entire experience is extremely intense,” said Blair Baldwin, Okanagan School of Business professor who coached the team alongside Mark Ziebarth.

The students’ first case was from a coffee company based on Prince Edward Island that was seeking recommendations that would grow their company, with a specific marketing budget in mind.

RELATED: Okanagan College business students rise to top in competition

“Coming up with three good alternatives was quite difficult. The analysis was pretty straightforward, but because of the limited budget and being a business-to-business case, there were limited options that we could present,” Nathan Ziebart a third-year marketing student on the team.

Their approach worked, as the team found out Saturday night that they would advance to the final round on Sunday. That case featured a Calgary-based alternative fitness business specializing in parkour ninja warrior-style training, seeking expansion opportunities that would see them grow market share.

RELATED: Hundreds of students show up at Okanagan College business expo and hiring fair

The team suggested changes to their business model to allow memberships and hourly rates for specific drop-in times, in addition to holding an accessible competition tailored to families, youth and non-competitors.

“Our team put on a very creative presentation to the judges. So many students, presenters, coaches came up and shook their hands saying, ‘Okanagan School of Business keeps raising the bar,’” Baldwin said.

“What stood out for me was the countless hours — over 40 hours in training for five weeks — prior to going to Montreal. Their dedication to learning and representing the Okanagan School of Business was admirable. They knew they were entering a tough competition and wanted to compete at a high level.”

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