Students from Okanagan College’s School of Business once again showed they are among the best in the country, notching three podium finishes – including a first-place and two runner-up finishes – at Canada’s oldest and most prestigious case competition.
For fourth-year Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) student Madison Blancher, the path to competing at the Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (I.C.B.C.) at Queen’s University became clear when she and her teammate Adrianna Knuth advanced through a challenging preliminary round in November.
The pair didn’t rest on their laurels after becoming finalists, however, and in the weeks that followed they spent countless hours preparing for the competition, with one goal in mind: winning.
Their preparation paid off. The duo from Okanagan College, coached by Dr. Robert Groves and Roger Wheeler of the OC School of Business, took first place in the Human Resources category, besting finalists from Simon Fraser University, Concordia University, McGill University, Saint Mary’s University and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
“We were definitely nervous going up against the best business students in the country and internationally,” says Blancher. “But the level of support we received from our coaches was incredible. We couldn’t have done it without their knowledge and expertise.”
“We were ecstatic when the results came in,” adds Knuth. “The best part about studying business at OC is that you have real-world opportunities like this to push yourself beyond your comfort zone – it’s the best way to learn.”
Blancher and Knuth weren’t the only ones celebrating as Okanagan College recorded one of its best ever showings in the competition.
The Accounting team comprised of BBA students Kyla Bernardo and Kirsten Pitzoff placed second (coached by Adrian Fontenla and Randy Newton), as did the Management of Information Systems (MIS) duo of Jared Hubner and Anthony Peterson (coached by Dr. Glen Coulthard).
The Debate team (coached by David Cram and Devin Rubadeau) also put in a strong effort, although they failed to crack the top three.
“All of us at the School of Business are extremely proud of our students who competed and the professors who volunteered as coaches,” says Dr. Heather Banham, Dean of Okanagan College’s School of Business.
“These amazing results speak to the effort, dedication and commitment of both the students and professors. They all represented Okanagan College and themselves with professionalism and poise on a competitive, international stage.”
The Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (I.C.B.C.) is Canada’s oldest and longest-running undergraduate business case competition.
There are eight different categories in which students can compete, including Accounting, Business Policy, Ethics, Debating, Finance, Human Resources, Marketing, and Management of Information Systems.
Held annually in Kingston, the event hosts more than 100 competitors from leading business schools across Canada and around the world.
“I came away from the competition with so much more confidence in myself and my abilities,” says Blancher. “I know that will carry forward into future competitions and my career.”
Blancher and Knuth are back in class this week, but both are already focused on their next challenges.
The pair has been invited to participate in HRC West, Western Canada’s top HR Case Competition, in Vancouver in early March. Both students will graduate this year, Blancher with a BBA with a specialty in Human Resources and Knuth with a BBA Honours degree, specializing in Human Resources (which she is on track to complete in just three years).
Even before graduation, Blancher’s career in HR has already taken off. She currently works full-time as a Junior Human Resources Advisor at KF Aerospace, while finishing her last four classes this semester at Okanagan College.
More information about the competition is available here.