Okanagan College’s accounting team of Rowan Nevard and Mark Fellhauer (center two) photo contributed

Okanagan College business students rise to top in competition

The students took part in an international business case competition

Okanagan College School of business students cruised to a first-place finish and two runner-up finishes in the country’s oldest and most prestigious case competition over the weekend.

From Jan. 17 to 19, teams of students from business schools all across Canada, the U.S. and around the world converged upon Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., for the Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (I.C.B.C.).

The college fielded four teams of two in the accounting, ethics, debate and human resources categories.

Competitors were given five and a half hours to prepare and present their solutions to a panel of judges, comprised of industry leaders. The top three teams from each category were announced during a wrap-up banquet on Saturday.

Rowan Nevard and Mark Fellhauer, who made up the college’s accounting team, had the unique thrill of hearing their names called as winners in a category that boasted some strong competition.

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“We felt really prepared going into the finals, which I think speaks to the quality of the education we receive at the college,” said Nevard. “We were calm and focused and so much of that is owing to the amazing effort put in by our coaches and professors who have given us such a strong education to draw from.”

The pair were coached by Adrian Fontenla and Mary Ann Knoll. They came out on top of teams from runner-up University of Calgary and third-place Concordia University.

Nevard and Fellhauer weren’t the only ones to experience the thrill of stepping onto the podium as the college notched one of its best-ever showings.

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OC’s ethics team, comprised of Ryan Buchanan and Jason Greaves, coached by Dr. Barry McGillivray, associate dean of the School of Business, took second place behind the University of Calgary. The team from Concordia University rounded out the top three.

“We definitely learned a lot and gained a lot of confidence from the whole process,” said Buchanan.

“Ethics is a philosophical subject usually saved for the abstract. Competing – especially at this level – allowed us to apply it to real-world problems,” said Greaves.

Mitchell Folk and Derek Monsen proved a dynamic duo in the debate category, notching a second-place showing also falling just short of the team from the University of Calgary. They came out on top of the team from host Queen’s University. The team was coached by Devin Rubadeau and Bob Groves.

The Human Resources team of Jennifer Van Aller and Mindy Strugnell, coached by Roger Wheeler and Bob Groves also put in a strong effort, although they failed to crack the top three in their category.

“We couldn’t be prouder of our students for their achievements and for the way in which they represented themselves, the School of Business and the college,” said McGillivray.

“It’s certainly gratifying for our students to see their hard work and preparations rewarded, but it’s even more gratifying for us as coaches and educators to witness them seizing opportunities like this to put their skills into practice and show they’re on a level with the best up-and-coming business minds in the country.”

The path to the podium has not been a short one, notes McGillivray. The students and their coaches began prepping in September for the preliminary (qualifying) rounds in late October.

“Opportunities like this simply couldn’t happen without a whole lot of volunteered time and effort by our faculty,” said McGillivray. “Congratulations and thank you to all the coaches who were so deeply invested in supporting students as they prepared for the competition over the past few months.”

The Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (I.C.B.C.) is Canada’s oldest and longest-running undergraduate business case competitions, founded in 1978 by Geoff Arnoldi. Now entering its 41st year, I.C.B.C. has grown to become an internationally recognized name that hosts over 100 competitors from the top business schools across Canada as well as the globe.

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