Preparation pays off!

Friday, March 17, 2023
by Jane (Macc Student) and Aki (AFM Student)

Lessons learned from competing at Queen’s University Inter-Collegiate Business Competition

In January, we participated in the Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (I.C.B.C.) in the ethics stream. I.C.B.C. is one of the most academically rigorous undergraduate case competitions in the world, and this was our experience participating in the competition.  

After qualifying for finals in the preliminary round, we had just over a month to prepare for the final event. To take some of the edge off, about a week before the competition we did a practice mock case presentation for our competition mentors. We both agreed this mock case was more nerve-wracking than the competition itself – receiving direct feedback from professors is always a little intimidating – but the experience gave us more confidence as a team and eased our anxiety moving forward.

Finals weekend took place over the second weekend in January at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. The conference was packed with networking and social activities, from a motivational speaker to a downtown scavenger hunt. During all these activities, we were able to interact with competitors from not only other provinces in Canada, but across the world!  

On competition day, we were assigned a room on Queen’s University campus and had five and a half hours to create a presentation based on an ethics case. We tried to incorporate our mentors’ feedback and follow a similar planning approach from our practice run. We first determined the focus and outline of the presentation, then set up our slides, and finally spent the bulk of the planning time rehearsing what to say.  

We presented to a panel of academics and industry professionals, but the competition room was also open for other conference participants and mentors to watch too. It was nice to see some familiar faces in the audience! At the closing ceremonies at the end of the weekend, we were happy to learn that we placed first in our category out of six finalist teams!  

We really believe that our success would not have been possible without the support of our mentors, SAF professors Mark Arnason and Krista Fiolleau, throughout the preliminary round and  as we headed into the finals. Thanks as well to the other Waterloo competitors for making it such a fun weekend! We encourage all students reading this to consider participating in one of the I.C.B.C. competitive events next fall. It is a wonderful opportunity to apply some of your business interests and course-sourced knowledge in a competitive case-based atmosphere.