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By Susan White

A team of four Memorial University graduate students has won the 2017 Concordia Cup.

The win makes Memorial the most successful school in the 36-year history of the prestigious business competition.

MBA stars

Kate Boland, Stephanie Daley, Nick Lane and Greg Piercey, all of whom are students in the master of business administration (MBA) program at the Faculty of Business Administration, won the cup and a $10,000 cash prize on Jan. 6 after defeating the University of Calgary and Queensland University of Technology from Australia in the championship round of the John Molson MBA International Case Competition.

“We are extremely proud to have represented Memorial in this challenging event, competing with some of the best MBA students in the world,” said Mr. Piercey. “We learned so much through our preparation and at the competition. It was a tremendous experience and we had a lot of fun. Win or lose, this experience has been the highlight of our MBA.”

Continuing legacy

Memorial also won the cup in 1988, 1990, 1991 and 1996. The first four winning teams were coached by Dr. Alex Faseruk, who recently retired from the business faculty. Dr. Peggy Coady, associate dean (course-based master’s) at the business faculty, has been coaching MBA case teams for the past 10 years; she was also a member of the winning 1996 team as a student.

“The competition is more intense now than ever. I am so proud of what this year’s team has accomplished.” — Dr. Peggy Coady

“While this milestone reflects Memorial’s legacy of success in the competition, it also inspires us to continue to work hard to prepare and mentor MBA students to become competitive, compassionate and successful global leaders,” said Dr. Coady.

“We have had many excellent teams over the last 20 years. The competition is more intense now than ever. I am so proud of what this year’s team has accomplished.”

‘A winning combination’

All four team members also received undergraduate degrees from Memorial. Ms. Boland, Ms. Daley and Mr. Lane are honours graduates of the bachelor of commerce (co-operative) program. Mr. Piercey holds a bachelor of engineering degree.

“Winning the Concordia Cup really speaks to the quality of education provided at Memorial,” said Ms. Daley. “My experience in the commerce program helped me get my dream job in brand marketing with Molson Coors upon graduation. The work opportunities that Memorial has helped me secure, paired with the additional learning achieved through my MBA, has proved to be a winning combination.”

World-class competition

The John Molson MBA International Case Competition is the largest case competition of its kind in the world.

From left are Kate Boland, Nick Lane, Stephanie Daley and Greg Piercey in the Business building.
From left are Kate Boland, Nick Lane, Stephanie Daley and Greg Piercey in the Business building.
Photo: Chris Hammond

Organized by MBA students at Concordia University in Montreal, it challenges MBA students from the world’s top business schools to evaluate real-world business cases and offer solutions which they present before a panel of judges from the Montreal business community. Judges then have the opportunity to question teams on their presentations and recommendations.

Memorial progressed through a round robin and semi-final before making the championship round. Along the way, they defeated Canadian teams from Asper Business School at the University of Manitoba, Odette Business School at the University of Windsor and Degroote School of Business at McMaster University, as well as Barna Business School from the Dominican Republic, University of Kaiserslautern from Germany and Aalto University from Finland.

Thirty-six teams from 18 countries took part in the competition, held Jan. 2-6 in Montreal, Que.

‘They didn’t go easy on us’

MBA case teams prepare for the Concordia Cup through a MBA special topics course, in which students analyze and present business cases chosen by Dr. Coady, who teaches the course. Cases with important business issues are selected and the judging panel provides feedback to the team on dealing with these types of challenges.

Mr. Piercey says this preparation was an important factor in the team’s success.

“By the time we faced the judges in Montreal, we were ready for anything.” — Greg Piercey

“Each week, we faced a new panel of judges comprised of faculty, past participants and local business leaders,” he said. “The devotion of their time and expertise helped us through the competition. During our preparation, our coach and the judges gave us new ideas on how to improve. They also didn’t go easy on us with their questions. By the time we faced the judges in Montreal, we were ready for anything.”

Memorial is one of the few schools to have won all three of the competition’s major awards, which aside from the Concordia Cup includes the Richard Outcault Team Spirit Award and the Dr. J. Pierre Brunet Coach Award.

Dr. Coady won the top coach award in 2009. Dr. Alex Faseruk previously won the award in 2006, making Memorial the only university to win the coaching award twice.

“Our MBA case team receives tremendous support from our alumni, business community and faculty members who serve as judges of the team’s practice case presentations during the fall semester,” said Dr. Coady. “The preparation we undertake for competitions like this is crucial for our students’ success and we are very grateful to all our supporters.”

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