One Team One Dream – CFA Ethics Challenge

The importance of teamwork in a virtual setting

The CFA Society Ethics Challenge was a commitment over the course of several months, starting in late 2020 and carrying on into May 2021. The various rounds involved preparing for case studies, writing reports, creating presentations, and ensuring we were performing to the best of our abilities in order to succeed.

team picThe pandemic has pushed us further away from each other and the daily interaction we once strived for is now a distant, but hopeful reality. Many of us tended to move further away from interaction but this competition helped us stay in touch by working interactively with one another to develop ethical solutions to problems we face in our day-to-day lives. Our team consisted of two students who are on co-op work terms and two students who are in full-time studies in the Master of Accounting (MAcc) program at the School of Accounting and Finance (SAF). At times, the differences in our schedules made it a challenge to coordinate meetings, allocate time for the competition and, overall, manage our workload.

Our key ingredient to reaching Top 5 in Canada has to be communication, and specifically maximizing a virtual setting. We often downplay the strengths of communication as we think it is a given skill that we all possess. However, what we soon realized was that the reason we were able to work together efficiently was that we frequently and, more importantly, openly communicated with one another. This allowed all of us to understand what our collective priorities were, and we were able to work around the virtual communication challenges to produce the same quality work had we been in-person. Second, we individually set aside time for the competition by using our calendars to block out time to work on our reports and presentations. This would mean re-prioritizing other important aspects, such as projects and meetings, but this also meant that there was no stoppage in the work. We understood the complexity and the effort required of us to succeed and ensured to pick up each other if the need arose.

Lastly, for any teams looking to pursue similar competitions, although it sounds generic, an important aspect to keep in mind is ‘One Team One Dream’. In 2021, we faced many struggles, with work and school being moved online, to increasingly challenging deadlines, along with the struggles of living life during the pandemic. In a time like this, when working on a case competition, it is important to understand that every student has responsibilities outside of the CFA ethics challenge, and if one team member is falling behind, the other team members must be able to step up and take responsibility for those sections. At the end of the day, the most important takeaway that we identified is that in a team setting, there is no individual gains or losses but rather a collective result regardless of whether you win or lose!

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