The following article was written by a member of our student community. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Telfer School of Management. For more information or to flag inappropriate content, please contact us.
One thing to know about me is that I am a big fan of case competitions. I have participated in over seven of them during my four years at Telfer, and I still think that's not enough.
I am especially biased towards the Jeux du Commerce (JDC) as that was the first competition in which I participated, and it is my favourite by far. I loved my experience so much that I decided to become one of the two coordinators for the 2021 edition, along with my good friend, Scott Dowell. Together, we have the goal of making sure that 2021 is Telfer's year!
For those of you who have not participated in a case competition, here's the elevator* pitch. You arrive at a hotel with 50 to 100 other students from Telfer, all wearing the same exclusive clothing to proudly represent your school. There's an opening ceremony, a celebration, and then you rest before the start of the competition the next day. There are three main disciplines in which you can compete:
- Social: An opportunity for you to showcase your creativity and teamwork through various challenges;
- Sports: Where you can compete in a sport chosen by the organizing committee;
- Academics: Your team resolves a real-life case study presented by a sponsor.
Throughout the weekend, when you're not competing, you cheer on the other teams, network with sponsors, and make friends with students from the other participating schools. Finally, the weekend ends with a gala where the sponsors and organizers present the winners for each category.
Watch the recap video to see it in action!
Join a Case Competition
Now that you have a good idea about what a case competition is like, why should you compete in one at Telfer? While there are countless reasons, I've summarized them into three:
1. To network:
Participating in a case competition is an opportunity to network like no other, and as business students, you should already be aware that networking is one of the most important things you can do at university. I truly believe that I would not have had the same success finding a job if it was not for the connections I made early on at Telfer, and many of those connections came from case competitions.
First, a delegation is like a family, and through your practices, social events, delegation meetings and the competition itself, you form a bond with the other students. These students can easily become your best friends and even a reference for a job opportunity.
Second, a lot of companies sponsor case competitions to network with students and recruit them for jobs. While you're there, whether you are part of the social, sports, or academic team, you have the chance to network with these recruiters and share your resume. If you're cracking an academic case, the sponsors will see you in action, and they may choose to invite you to a VIP cocktail event to get to know you better. There have been countless instances of students finding jobs at case competitions; you could be next!
2. To develop skills
When you participate in an academic case competition, you are often assigned a coach, and you conduct frequent practices to prepare with your team. These are great opportunities to improve your case-cracking skills, which are extremely important when trying to get a job in competitive fields such as consulting. Many firms such as Deloitte and Accenture have a case study as part of their interview process, so having weeks of practice with feedback from an experienced coach will provide you with an edge over your competition.
Other skills you will develop that are even more important, in my opinion, are presentation skills, time management, and teamwork. These three skills are crucial to have when applying for a job. This is yet another way that participating in a case competition can help you find your dream job.
3. To have fun
While the two reasons above are nice and crucial to be successful business students, I wouldn't have gone through 7 competitions if they weren't fun. Some of my best memories from my university career have been at these various case competitions. Whether it be watching the Telfer ultimate frisbee team win the bronze final at JDC 2019, leaving the presentation room with my teammates Josh and Nafim after having presented our solution at JDC 2020, or seeing my friend Bobby win the MVP award at HM 2019, these are all moments I'll cherish for a very long time.
However, my experiences at case competitions have not all been jolly. Unfortunately at JDC 2019, I dislocated my kneecap and tore my MCL within 30 minutes of the start of the first soccer game we played. That meant that my tournament was over, and that I had to spend the rest of the day at the hospital. I think that the fact that I still love case competitions that much after going through this proves how fun they are!
Overall, I have given you three good reasons why you should sign up for a case competition at Telfer. In my opinion, just the amazing “swag” items that you get should be enough to convince you, but if not, this article should do it.
I'm currently the VP Information Technology and Marketing on the organizing committee for JDC 2022 and, let me tell you, we're planning something big for everyone. After a very challenging year, we're going to light the fire within all the delegates, and you won't want to miss it!
*Disclaimer: All competitions are different, but I am sharing my experience of a traditional, in-person format to keep it simple.