The following is about how an internal SFU case competition landed me a marketing position with an SFU start-up.
Case competitions are something that is an ever-growing activity within the Beedie community. From the first day I transferred, all I heard about was this opportunity to learn from doing. Little did I know that this would be what taught me the most in the first year of my undergraduate degree at SFU.
Every year, the Beedie School of Business hosts its internal 24-hour case competitions, Peak and Elite. The two competitions are divided based on the number of credits a student has when participating. Whenever I asked my friends about the internal competitions, I always got the same response of this is what started their case careers with international competitions. Now, I knew I had to try so I signed up for Elite.
For the competition, the team created a timeline to follow once we received the case. Full disclosure, this was scrapped by hour four. We took what we learned about analyzing a case and worked relentlessly until 7:00 am. This is when we decided that we deserved a two-hour nap before practicing for the presentation. It all felt like a blur. The next thing I knew we were lining up outside the presentation room waiting for our turn.
As we finished our question and answers, we left the room exhausted but with a smile knowing that we were proud of ourselves for trying something completely new. We walked to the theatre to rest, eat lunch, and hear the results.
Sitting in the theatre, I was talking to a friend of mine who was a judge for the Peak competition. As we were catching up, an individual wearing a TMP T-shirt walked up to me and asked for me to pass his bag (which was right in front of me); At that moment I realized that I was sitting in one of the judge’s seat. I quickly moved over to make space for them to sit down and apologized for being unaware due to my lack of sleep.
It turns out that that individual was Steven Ruggles, one of the founding members of TalentMarketplace. We got to talk about his time at SFU as well as what I have been up to since transferring into the Beedie School of Business. By the end of the conversation, I was offered to apply for a position with TMP as a Digital Marketing Strategist.
I kept in contact with Steven and ended up meeting him at Nemisis (a local cafe favourite) for an interview. We talked about the role and he answered a bunch of my questions about the position. He then asked to look at my resume; he pulled out his pen and started making notes and showing me where I should improve my resume as well as where I have made errors on it.
After the interview with Steven, I headed back to their office to meet Qaid Jivan and Scott Hirsch. In my mind, I didn’t know if I had a chance at this position after seeing how much I could improve my resume. But, I walked in and got introduced to the two other founders of TMP.
Over the next few days, I lived my life as normal, hoping in the back of my mind that I will get an offer to join TalentMarketplace as their Digital Marketing Strategist. Next thing I know, I get a call from Steven.
I was hired.
I’ve now been working with TMP for two months on email campaigns, Google Adwords, site design and recommending overall digital marketing strategy. Because the company is small, I’ve been able to have a lot of autonomy, make a large impact, and learn a lot along the way. It was thanks to case competitions that I was presented this opportunity!
James Barker is a fourth-year student in the Beedie School of Business concentrating in Marketing, Management Information Systems, and Operations Management; currently, he is completing the Business Analysts and Decision Making Certificate while keeping involved in the Beedie Community as part of both SMA and SFU JDC West. Feel free to reach out to him at email@example.com