I.C.B.C. Competition: Students turned analysts

Monday, March 20, 2023
by Lakshmi (MAcc Student), Sonia (MAcc Student) and Hufsah (AFM Student)

The success of working together

As previous analysts on the Student Venture Fund and AFM 433: Business Strategy, enthusiasts, we had always been interested in analyzing companies and thinking of strategic possibilities for them. This drew us to the Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (I.C.B.C.), where we became finalists in the business policy event.

Image of Hufsah K.

I.C.B.C. is a case competition that consists of a preliminary round where we were tasked with writing a report on the future strategy for a college. We leveraged our qualitative and quantitative analysis skills to think of strategic possibilities for the college. The case challenged us to think outside of the box as we had never analyzed a post-secondary education institution before. After many brainstorming sessions and completing our report, we received the news that we had successfully placed in the list of the top schools moving on to the final round! 

Picture of Sonia B.
To prepare us in advance, our faculty advisors, Mark Arnason and Ranjini Jha, organized a practice session to help simulate a similar environment to case day. We had to analyze a case and present it under the set time constraints. Overall, we found this to be beneficial in helping manage our time and we received feedback on things to keep in mind for the competition day. 

The final round was an in-person weekend hosted by Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. We were excited to compete in our first in-person case competition since the pandemic. The weekend consisted of many opportunities to network with delegates, take part in fun events, and socialize over dinner. We were able to converse with other candidates from the University of Waterloo as well as universities from around the world. 

The day for the ‘business policy’ case finally came when we were tasked with analyzing a retail company and making a presentation within the time limit. We felt ourselves under immense pressure as we tried to brainstorm strategic possibilities. After five hours, we submitted the presentation and spent the last 30 minutes preparing for it. Throughout the case, we were able to leverage our knowledge from past courses and our dry run. It was an amazing opportunity to do an in-depth analysis of a new company. 

Picture of Lakshmi

Overall, we found this to be an incredible learning experience that we will carry with us to future courses, work tasks, and competitions. Looking back, we would recommend our first-year selves to do more case competitions as they are a great way to meet new people and make your experience in university memorable.