MBA students see some success at National MBA Games

TRU MBA students faced off against 19 other universities from across Canada

Ashlee Hudie (left), captain of the National MBA Games team, Yash Thakker (right), who also participated in both games and graduated from the MBA program last semester pose for a photo. (Martin McFarlane/The Omega)

A new team of MBA students under equally new leadership saw the podium over the winter break in two competitions at the National MBA Games.

The national games were held at Vancouver Island University, the same school that TRU emerged victorious at in the provincial MBA Games competition last fall. TRU’s team once again saw success, particularly in the marketing case and in the first mystery competition, where they placed third in both challenges.

According to team captain Ashlee Hudie and team member Yash Thakker, who both competed in the B.C. games, the team for the National MBA Games was made up of many new faces, with only six or seven participants of the 27-person team previously participating in the B.C. games. Team members came from all backgrounds and levels in the MBA program.

In the marketing case competition, teams created plans to solve real problems faced by sponsor organizations. TRU was one of only four of the 20 universities that qualified for placement, with facing off in the finals against McMaster University, University of Alberta and Université Laval. TRU’s team placed 3rd nationally (1st provincially) in the marketing case.

In the competition, marketing cases are formulated based on real companies’ scenarios, which are present and provide feedback.

After the presentation, Hudie was told by a member of the panel that some of their recommendations were excellent and would be implemented in the company.

“[It’s] different than your teacher saying ‘I think that’s a really good strategy for this company.’ It’s a higher degree of validation,” Hudie said.

“There were some universities there that didn’t podium at all, that TRU outperformed. Universities that are far older and have far bigger budgets than ours.”

Yash Thakker, who also participated in both games and graduated from the MBA program last semester, said that the national competition set the stakes even higher.

“We were tested to the next level in the B.C. MBA Games, but this was totally different,” Thakker said, adding that competing with larger universities was like a comparison in education quality.

His advice to the next team is to be mentally prepared to compete.

“Being mentally prepared and being trained and having that cohesiveness within the team is very important,” Thakker said. “Expect the toughest challenges, and nothing will be easy there.”

When asked what advice she would give the next MBA Games team, Hudie said that preparation was most important.

“Start early,” Hudie said. She added that some universities started preparing for the 2017 games as soon as the 2016 games ended. Hudie also said that the team captain needs to have faith in his or her team, especially when the captain cannot be there.

While the competition itself is the forefront aspect of the MBA Games, Hudie and Thakker said that the other teams were friendly and inviting, with plenty of networking opportunities provided with both fellow students and sponsors.

Supporting the team were several faculty coaches, including Paul Clark, Nancy Southin, Heidi Milovick, Angus Duff and Dan Thompson.

TRU is hosting the 2017 B.C. MBA Games in October and will defend their win against several universities from across the province.