Student Life

Beyond the business benefits of JMUCC

Non-business students attending Case Competition walk away inspired

While you need to be a business student to join the John Molson Undergraduate Case Competition (JMUCC), you do not have to be a business student to reap the benefits it has to offer.

Last week, 24 universities from around the world came to the 11th edition of the JMUCC. During the competition, teams of four are presented with a real case from a local business where, in three hours, they must identify a problem and create an action plan how they intend to solve it. Contestants must present their ideas through a PowerPoint presentation to a panel of judges in 20 minutes, after which they will face a 10-minute question period. Teams did this three times from Feb. 25 to 27, and then completed a 24-hour long business case on Saturday. The event is open to the public to watch for free or live online. Students from all business disciplines are allowed to compete—but what about non-business students?

“This whole experience is about not just cracking a case, but it’s also about how you develop that business thinking that’s so crucial and so important to all the programs that people are studying,” said Kawish Lakhani, a tech volunteer for the event.

The John Molson Undergraduate Case Competition (JMUCC) was held at Hotel Bonaventure at 900 Rue de la Gauchetière from Feb. 25 to 27, with the final day on March 2. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

During presentations, guests witness how teams have worked together by putting forward their individual skill sets. Students can learn valuable presentation skills like voice projection, concise phrasing and developing unique presentation styles. Most importantly, students can learn to have fun while developing new skills; a mix many students deem impossible when presenting. Seham Allison, a contestant for Concordia, did just that by laughing with the judges at her tongue-tied moment when she tried to say the word “compensation.”  As an added bonus, with the 10-minute question period, students can see how participants think quickly on their feet—a skill they can use for future job interviews.

Concordia contestant Mathieu Kost brought up a different point of view. He expressed the limitations for non-business students visiting the event, as they do not have access to read the cases beforehand and therefore would not be able to understand and learn fully. However, he did mention that there are benefits for students who own businesses as they could learn “tangible actions that don’t cost too much money […] and then replicate that specific piece of recommendation in their business.”

For those who wish to travel or pursue careers elsewhere, they must know beforehand that every culture thinks differently, especially in a work setting. Students participating in the competition come from Canada, the United States, China, England, Ireland and more. “You can see there’s a cultural difference in how we look at issues, how we solve problems, what we prioritize as a primary issue,” said John Fragos, a member of the Concordia team.

“You can bond with a bunch of JMSB students that you wouldn’t necessarily get to meet if it weren’t for JMUCC, and meet people from all around the world,” said Julia Wheeler, the VP of logistics for the event. Due to the large amount of international students present, an extensive list of companies sponsor the event, such as RBC, CN, Ardene and IBM, to name a few. Students can make connections that can help them in their personal or business-related endeavors.

“It’s inspirational,” said Kevin Phok, a member of the Concordia team. At JMUCC, students from all domains can be inspired and educated. These professional skill sets can be applied to their own lives since, after all, when you’re an entrepreneur, everything is a business opportunity.

Student Life

Shining bright with Moment Factory

Moment Factory, a Montreal-based company, designed the multimedia components of this year's Super Bowl halftime show. Photo by Alyssa De Rosa

What started off as a company by three men and financed by one credit card is now a team of more than 60 talented individuals based in Montreal developing, designing and producing multimedia environments internationally.
They are known as Moment Factory, and they have recently attracted considerable attention for their design of this year’s Super Bowl halftime show.
In just 12 minutes, Madonna’s stage was lit up with Vogue covers, thumping speakers and a colourful, scintillating projection of “World Peace” that took up half the football field, courtesy of this new multimedia company.
Designers Tarik Mikou and Aliya Orr, who have been with Moment Factory for about two years, worked on this latest project together. “I have more of a cold style,” Orr joked. “Compared to Tarik’s [style] that’s more emotional and colourful.”
Both only had good things to say when it came to talking about SBM—Super Bowl Madonna.
“It was a huge project,” Mikou explained. “A lot of excitement surrounded the project and it was different for me because I got to work with people that I wouldn’t usually work with like animators for example, who are super talented.”
Because the installations can be so different, not all departments are needed on a single project. The 20,000-square foot studio, with its workshops and testing lab, is home to four departments: technology, design, environment and production.
Orr explained that usually, designers only get to work on the first phases of a project, but on SBM, the design team was there from “pitch to production.” “It really brought us together and was a collaborative approach,” she said.
Each department, which is run by a multimedia director, brings something different to the table. First, the technology pros are programming geniuses. The design team is composed of animators, graphic designers and motion designers and is seen as the creative hub of the company. The environment department is comprised of a group of people who define the space in which an installation can be installed and create a model of the project to scale. Finally, the production team handles all the business aspects, ensuring the right multimedia director is assigned to a project.
These departments didn’t exist when Dominic Audet, Sakchin Bessette and Jason Rodi decided to create Moment Factory in 2001. But once Cirque du Soleil got on board in 2003 and believed in the conceptual work these men were producing, the need for a bigger workspace and a bigger team was inevitable. A little over 10 years later, with some changes in management, particularly that of Rodi leaving and the welcoming of partner Eric Fournier, Moment Factory is now a household name, creating a visually interactive experience.
“A lot of what Moment Factory does can be understood in its name,” Orr said. “The ‘moment’ part of it explains the fact that we create moments for people and want them to be blown away by the experience while trying to tell a story.”
“You’re never doing the same thing twice here,” Mikou said.
That can be frustrating for some. “You feel like you want to master what you’re doing, but you never get to that confident state because you’re hit with something new,” Orr explained. “But that’s what’s so beautiful about it. That’s why I think we’re all here, because we are challenged in that way.”
Mikou also had the opportunity to work on Céline Dion’s interactive concept for her stage at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Other clients include Arcade Fire at the 2011 Coachella Festival in California, Nine Inch Nails, the Vancouver Canucks, TVA (the set of Le Tricheur) and Jay-Z’s concert at Carnegie Hall.
Moment Factory is currently lighting up their own city with La Vitrine Culturelle in Montreal’s entertainment district. They are also looking for fresh, young talent to join their team (graphic designers, animators, programmers, etc).
The company will be holding a career day at the end of March and details will soon be available on their Facebook page. You can also visit them at

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