Why you should jump into your first case competition

Wednesday, November 18, 2020
by Kevin C - AFM

Next time you get an opportunity to register for a case competition, I strongly suggest you do it— you won’t regret it. When I was in my second year of the AFM program, I had an intense interest in competing. I had seen my friends and peers find success when competing and I wondered if I could as well.

My first competition was the McMaster Fast Pace to the Case Accounting Conference, where my team and I presented our recommendation on a company’s accounting issues. Although we did not win, I became eager to attempt another one to achieve a taste of victory. Being able to collaborate with friends and peers in SAF to come up with a solution in a limited amount of time was both exhilarating and tested our academic knowledge.

I understand that many of you may not be interested in competing or are worried that you will not perform well if you did. If you are part of the former, I believe that once you try competing you will grow to love it. There is something special about representing your school at these events. Even if you do not want to compete, there are workshops and networking sessions where you can meet industry leaders and students from different universities. Plus, our school subsidizes the cost! If you are part of the latter and you are worried you won’t perform well, I want to reassure you that it is all an experience at the end of the day that is meant to progress your personal development. Besides, SAF has prepared us well to compete. For example, I recently competed in a strategy competition hosted by Schulich and my team came in first place. The business strategy course AFM 433 gave me all the tools I needed to succeed. Therefore, I am confident that you will have no problem achieving your own taste of victory!

To end off, I have some advice for future case study registrants (note I am only speaking on strategy competitions, so it may not pertain to every event). First, it is important to think about implications. I know our professors have drilled this concept in our heads and test us on it all the time, but this is something judges look for. If you can do the analysis and explain the effects of your results, you are on track to creating a strong and thorough conclusion. Second, find the weaknesses in your presentation and be prepared to have answers if questions are asked. Usually, on evaluations, there are points awarded for Q&A, so I suggest you keep that in mind.

Good luck and I wish you all the best! I know you will make SAF proud.