Last week marked the annual John Molson MBA Case Competition, a flagship event that involves over 350 volunteers, 270 local business
executives and 200 MBA candidates from around the globe. Behind the scenes were organizers and JMSB students, Bita Sehat, Leila Mosalaeepour, Hanaa Badaoui and Elliott Atlilia. The Concordian got an inside look at what this competition is all about as each of the organizers explain how it gets put together.
What is the Case Competition?
Sehat: The John Molson MBA International Case Competition was created in 1981 and is currently the oldest, largest and most international competition in the world. It is a robin-round format where teams of four MBA candidates are given three hours to solve a business case that they have never seen before. They then have twenty-five minutes to present their solutions to a panel of judges selected from local executives. Thirty-six teams from thirteen countries participated this year and competed to win the Concordia Cup and a cash prize of $10,000.
Why is it an important event for Concordia?
Mosalaeepour: It is a first-class event where talented students from prestigious business schools meet and compete is a unique environment.
How did you get involved?
Badaoui: I was a lead volunteer at the competition last year and it was a stimulating and rewarding experience that pushed me to be the hands-on organizer.
Atilia: I heard so much about the competition before starting the program that I wanted to get involved. After meeting several classmates who organized in previous years, I decided that I would take advantage and be part of such a unique opportunity.
Sehat: I volunteered last year at a team host event before attending my first class at JMSB. So it was clear to me that I found my calling in becoming an organizer.
Mosalaeepour: The competition is the oldest of it’s kind; it was an honor to be part of this legacy. It is also an unmatched learning experience that can’t be taught in any classroom. That was why I joined.
How much or your time and sweat went into organizing this event?
Badaoui: It took nine months of planning and the workload was 65-80 hours a week. The four of us worked by ourselves from March until September then five executive assistants joined our team in September to help finalize the event that took place Jan. 5-10. It was very stressful and rewarding at the same time since it is entirely a student-run event.
How does an event like this benefit students?
Mosalaeepour: The students get an unparalleled opportunity to network with local executives, connect with other students from around the world, and observe the case competition format in a lively manner.
Anything particularly interesting or special happen at this year’s event? Any important people in attendance?
Atilia: The highlight of the competition was the live case that was presented on Jan. 8 by The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, former Governor General of Canada and current UNESCO Special Envoy for Haiti. Mrs. Jean was joined by Mr. Rene Jean-Jumeau , the minister of energy in Haiti to present a live case about the energy crisis in Haiti.
It’s a competition, so who won? What do they win?
Mosalaeepour: The 3 winners are as follows:
1st place: University of Minnesota – Carlson School of Management (USA).
They won the Concordia Cup and a cash prize of $10,000.
2nd place: University of South Carolina – Moore School of Business (USA).
They won a cash prize of $7,000.
3rd place: University of Kaiserslautern
They won a cash prize of $5,000.
Was organizing this event all worth it?
Mosalaeepour: Yes absolutely! We gained friends and contacts from over 13 countries. We learned how to plan meticulously and at the same time act momentarily to ensure that all stakeholders have an unforgettable experience.
Badaoui: It is by far the best experience we had at JMSB!
Final thoughts on your experience?
Sehat: It is a strong commitment that translated into an unprecedented success and remarkable support from the Montreal business community.