A team to remember

Photo provided by Christopher Nelligan.

Ryerson University’s Masters of Business Administration (MBA) students conquered at the 2014 MBA Games. The games were held at York University’s Schulich School of Business from Jan. 3 to Jan. 5.

For this year’s academic section of the games, competitors were given a case study in each of the following areas: strategy, marketing, sustainability and finance. The athletics section of the competition focused on sports like volleyball, dodgeball, ultimate frisbee and soccer. Finally, the competition’s spirit category included two mystery events: an indoor cycling event and a scavenger hunt.

Since 1988, MBA students have teamed up to win the prestigious Queen’s Cup. Out of all of Ryerson’s MBA students, 40 are selected to take part in the games. Over 700 business students from all over Canada compete in athletic, academic and spirit contests to determine the winning team.

“I was very honoured to be selected to be apart of the MBA games team, it’s actually a competitive position internally we have to do case competitions within Ryerson first so that we can be selected for the teams and whether your going to be competing in athletics or in strategy or one of the case competitions,” said Shira Gellman, 28-year old MBA student and vice president of communications for the MBA students association. After countless practice cases and gruelling recruitment procedures, Gellman had made the team and the day for the games had finally arrived.

“By seven o’clock, they released the case to the teams, we each had our own separate rooms, each team of four people who were stuck there for about three hours preparing their case. No Internet access and we would create a slide deck, we would go through a process to try and figure out what our proposal would be. In this case the business issue was related to supply chain and specifically to a beer brewing company,” said Gellman in regard to the nature of the case.

Since 2007, Ryerson’s MBA team has been coached by Dale Carl, Ryerson’s MBA director of graduate students, which has produced fruitful results. Carl’s coaching strategy not only prepared students for what was to come, but gave them a competitive edge.

“I felt like our team really came together in that moment, we had been doing practices leading up to it which is different from other schools, because I know a lot of schools don’t have practice ahead of time for teams so Dale was our coach and made sure that we would be really well prepared just in terms of the process of how to prepare a case and how to prepare a presentation that will be strong and compete,” said Gellman.

The MBA Games offer students the opportunity to test out the skills they’ve learned in class and apply them to a real-life setting through various case studies. Students also have the opportunity to network with others from various schools, engage in friendly competition and represent their educational institution.

Ninety-one per cent of MBA graduates find employment six months after completion of the program. There are various streams within program that students can apply to, including the MBA global program, management of technology and innovation or a master’s degree in management science. The program can be completed in 12 months and, because Ryerson is located in Toronto, provides many employment opportunities for students.

In addition to this, Ryerson supports entrepreneurship, as demonstrated through the Digital Media Zone, which is one of Canada’s largest incubators. Ryerson truly gives young business enthusiasts a return on their investment.

At last year’s MBA games, Ryerson’s MBA team made the finals in the marketing and crisis management case competitions and won the Community Service Challenge with the most community service hours. They also won the athletic trophy, having placed third in volleyball and dodgeball and first in floor hockey.

The theme of this year’s MBA games was “Connecting the Dots,” which refers to interconnectedness, universal awareness and coming up with ideas that have the chance to make a global impact.

“I think that it is important because of the global nature of business to talk about how we’re all connected in new ways. As well it reminded me of some of the work I’ve done previously in career management where we talk about the clues along your path and if your searching for your future career or what you want to do with your life, you start using those clues like in astronomy when you get the stars and then they make a constellation. They connect the dots and it makes a picture,” said Gellman.

Ryerson had some promising results this year, as they won second place in Overall Academics, first place in the sustainability case competition, second place in the Next Great Canadian Ad Exec competition and third place in the strategy case competition. In addition to Ryerson’s competitive success, Ryerson succeeded in the fundraising event, raising $28,000 for the Paediatric Oncology Group of Ontario (POGO), which was more than any other school and more than half of the total $50,000 raised by all groups.

“I think you could just tell that our culture is collaborative and supportive. And we like to have fun  and that actually adds to our ability to do affective work,” said Gellman.

At the end of the competition, the DeGroote School of Business came in first, with the University of Alberta in second and Laval in third.