Beedie MBAs take top prize at HEC Montreal sustainability case competition

Mar 18, 2013
The Beedie MBA team. From left to right: Colin Knudsen, Geordan Hankinson, Erin Lane and Andrew Lee

The Beedie School of Business HEC MBA Sustainability Challenge team. From left to right: Colin Knudsen, Geordan Hankinson, Erin Lane and Andrew Lee

A team of MBA students from Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business have captured first place at the HEC Montréal MBA Sustainability Challenge case competition.

The team, consisting of MBA students Erin Lane, Geordan Hankinson, Colin Knudsen, and Andrew Lee, emerged victorious from a field of 12 competing universities from across Canada, the US and Denmark.

The competition, held at HEC Montréal in Québec on March 16, seeks to demonstrate the relevance of addressing corporate social responsibility issues in the management of successful enterprises, and featured a panel of guest judges from industry and academia

Competing teams were presented with a question concerning a real life issue facing organizations one week prior to the competition. This year’s question focused on biofuels in the aviation industry, and the team worked round the clock to prepare their case and presentation for the day of the competition.

After presenting their case in the preliminary round the team advanced to the final, where they were given 45 minutes to prepare a previously unseen question.

The Beedie MBA team defeated three other finalists from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University, and HEC Montréal to capture the top prize, and was presented with a trophy and a cheque for $4000.

“I am very proud to have been able to win this competition for the Beedie School of Business,” says Hankinson. “The competition provided an opportunity to apply all of the course material we have learned from our MBA program, such as finance, economics, statistics and strategy. The Beedie MBA program really equipped us to be successful.”

The students were coached by Beedie School of Business assistant professor Stephanie Bertels, who provided invaluable advice to the students on their case strategy and presentation skills, in addition to coaching them on the specifics of tackling a sustainability-related case competition.

“Each member of the group brought a very strong and diverse set of skills to the team, and it was fantastic to see them harness those skills,” says Bertels. “In training we focused on understanding what were the core risks to the organization and how sustainability affected those risks, and it was very pleasing to see the team use that model to achieve success. I am extremely proud of the team’s performance.”

“The guidance provided to us by Stephanie during the practice rounds was the cornerstone of our winning presentation,” says Lee. “As there are more variables to consider in a sustainability-focused case competition, the advice provided allowed us to focus our strategy in the right areas.”

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