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Global business challenge

Memorial MBA team heads Down Under for international competition

Teaching and Learning

By Susan White

A team of Memorial MBA students and graduates is headed to Australia to represent Memorial at a prestigious international business competition.

Team Memorial — known as Edge Consulting in the competition in order to ensure blind judging — is one of seven teams from post-secondary institutions around the world to have qualified for the finals of the 2016 Global Business Challenge in Brisbane, Australia.

From left: Neal Willcott, Angela Avery, Lindsey Hewitt and Ryan Stack will represent Memorial at the Global Business Challenge.
From left are Neal Willcott, Angela Avery, Lindsey Hewitt and Ryan Stack.

Team Memorial

Angela Avery, B.Comm.(Co-op)(Hons.)’07; Lindsey Hewitt, BBA’07, MBA’16; Ryan Stack, B.Comm.(Co-op)(Hons.)’10, MBA’16; and Neal Willcott, B.Sc.’13, MBA’16, make up Team Memorial.

“There’s a lot going on: pride, excitement and some intimidation, if I’m honest,” said Mr. Willcott, who is currently enrolled in the master of science in management program at Memorial. “We’re very happy and grateful to be selected, but we also believe in our idea and plan on performing our very best in the hopes of winning.”

Tackling global challenges

The Global Business Challenge is a graduate business case competition focused on designing sustainable solutions to global problems. The challenge being addressed in the 2016 competition is improving the effectiveness and cost of health-care outcomes for isolated communities.

“When we started brainstorming, we landed on a solid, innovative idea that we thought was worth pursuing.” — Angela Avery

The Memorial team, which earned a semi-place finish in the 2016 John Molson MBA International Case Competition last January, submitted a 15-minute pitch video and five-page executive summary of their proposed solution to the competition. Competing teams were divided into pools of seven with the winner in each pool, plus a wild card entry, chosen for the finals. Forty-two teams from around the globe competed in the opening round.

“We really enjoyed the experience of the John Molson competition and were hoping to have another opportunity to work together,” said Ms. Avery, a master of business administration student. “We had heard about the Global Business Challenge from Dr. Peggy Coady and when we started brainstorming, we landed on a solid, innovative idea that we thought was worth pursuing.”

Dr. Coady, associate dean (course-based master’s) at the Faculty of Business Administration, also coaches Team Memorial. Memorial’s Centre for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL) helped prepare the pitch video.

“Peggy was very helpful in our preparation of this entry and we were fortunate that the team at CITL was able to shoot our pitch video, giving us a really high-end final product,” said Ms. Avery.

A 48-hour final

In the final round, the teams will be given a new problem or challenge to incorporate into their proposed solution. They’ll then have 48 hours to prepare a new 50-page business plan and 20-minute presentation. A judging panel of business executives will evaluate each team’s solution from both technical and business perspectives.

“We really want to come together as a team and create a solution we are proud of and give an amazing presentation where we effectively articulate our ideas and the methods by which to execute them,” said Mr. Willcott. “Personally, this might be the last time this team comes together for a project like this, so I really want our work to be outstanding, even if we don’t win.”

Memorial has a history of success in the competition: it won the inaugural title in 2014. Members of the 2014 championship team have been helping this year’s quartet prepare for the competition.

“There’s also the want to carry on that legacy, to continue the tradition of excellence that Memorial’s business faculty consistently demonstrates.” – Neal Willcott

“They want to see us succeed just as much as we do or the faculty does,” said Mr. Willcott. “But there’s also the want to carry on that legacy, to continue the tradition of excellence that Memorial’s business faculty consistently demonstrates. We want to continue to build on what has already been a fantastic year for student teams at Memorial, and that always creates some additional — and necessary — pressure.”

Learning experience

Ms. Avery says that participating in the competition also adds to the real-world business experience offered by Memorial’s MBA program.

“Obviously, we would love to win or at least place in the top three. But beyond that, this will be an amazing learning experience for all of us, so I’m truly looking forward to seeing what happens and taking some skills away that I can use in my professional life.”

The 2016 Global Business Challenge will be held Oct. 31-Nov. 3 at the Queensland University of Technology.

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