Lessons learned from competing at STRIVE

Thursday, December 15, 2022
by Vivian, AFM student

Through the School of Accounting and Finance (SAF) External Competition Subsidy Program, I recently had the pleasure of competing in the STRIVE Case Competition, where my team came in first place! Coming into my 3A term, my goal was to immerse myself in as many unique opportunities as I could outside of the classroom – and cracking a non-accounting case was certainly a memorable experience.<--break->

For this year’s retail and consumerism-themed competition, we were tasked with putting together an immersive marketing, merchandising, and sales strategy for Frito Lay Canada to help them increase sales within convenience stores in urban areas. It was a challenging time crunch coming up with such an extensive solution in four hours – but here are some strategies that ultimately contributed to our win!

  1. Know your team and plan! Prior to the competition, Ceanna, Tony, and I discussed our strategy to tackle the case. We identified each of our strengths and weaknesses and came up with a game plan that would allow each of us to leverage our strengths during the competition. This helped us use the four-hour case cracking time in the most efficient way possible.
  2. Get out of your comfort zone! Participating in a case competition is already a step out of your comfort zone. While you’re in the competition, however, it is important to remain flexible and take risks – especially given the evident time crunch. Whether it be taking the lead on a section that nobody on your team is familiar with or answering a question that you might not have anticipated during the Q&A period, every step outside of your comfort zone will help you grow!
  3. Have fun! While it is nice to win, case competitions are, first and foremost, a learning experience. You’ll enjoy the experience a lot more if you focus on learning new things or making memories with your team. By going into a competition with no expectations, you might surprise yourself (and maybe walk away with the win!).

Case competitions have undoubtedly been the highlight of my experience at SAF – the opportunity to apply the skills you’ve learned, as well as gain insights outside of accounting and finance, will help you become a more well-rounded professional. I hope I’ve convinced you to try at least one case competition during your time here at SAF and I look forward to seeing what you accomplish!