The success of your business hinges on the quality of the team you bring on board. When you’re looking to hire top-notch employees, competitions could be the answer. These contests, in which university students compete to solve business problems, give you access to an untapped talent pool. Getting involved in case competitions gives you an opportunity to snap up promising new hires long before they hit the job market.
What Are Case Competitions?
During a case competition, teams of students tackle a challenging business scenario. Each team gets the same information about a company and a key business problem it faces. Then, in a fixed amount of time, the team must come up with a solution to the problem. At the 2016 McGill Management International Case Competition, for example, teams had to come up with a strategic plan to help a Brazilian sunglasses company expand into the United States. At the end of the competition, each team presents their solution to a panel of judges. The top teams usually win prizes or funding from venture capitalists.
Why Should My Business Get Involved?
When you get involved in a case competition, you can meet and connect with talented, motivated undergraduate or MBA students from around the world. Whether you’re mentoring teams, watching presentations, or acting as a sponsor, you have the chance to see the students in action. Many of these students haven’t started searching for jobs yet, so you can get a foot in the door early on. What’s more, since these competitions are designed to support networking, it’s easy to start conversations with people that might be a good fit. This is a great opportunity for your startup or small business to make personal, meaningful connections — all without the hassle and hiring costs of online job postings.
What if you don’t need employees but are facing a business problem? You can still benefit from competitions by becoming one of the cases they use. If you’re picked, students compete to find the best solutions to your biggest business problems. In return, you get a huge variety of fresh ideas and innovations that could move your company to the next level.
How Can My Company Participate in Case Competitions?
There are many ways to get involved in case competitions. Becoming one of the cases in the competition is probably the most valuable option for you, but case spots are limited, so get in touch with organizers as early as possible. If you have money but not time, your company can also sponsor the competition. In return, you get advertising space on event materials. You may also be invited to special networking events with students and other sponsors.
Are you an industry expert? Another way to get involved is to be a judge. Some competitions also look for mentors to help students work through each problem. One of the easiest ways to get involved is just to attend the competition. Many case competitions are open to the public, so you can watch presentations and chat with students afterward.
What Are Some Competitions Open to Canadian Businesses and Entrepreneurs?
McGill Management International Case Competition: This competition, which happens at McGill University in Montreal, is great if you’re looking for new graduates. It focuses on globalization and multi-disciplinary problems, so it attracts well-rounded students interested in international business.
Sauder Summit Global Case Competition: This week-long Vancouver event includes three business cases. The Sauder Summit invites just 12 teams from the world’s best business schools, so it’s guaranteed to bring in talented students. If your business is tackling new or unusual projects, there’s also an opportunity to become an industry presenter.
John Molson MBA International Case Competition: If you need higher-level employees, the John Molson Competition is ideal. It welcomes MBA students, many of whom already have industry experience. This Montreal event is particularly well-organized when it comes to sponsors and offers plenty of chances to network with other business leaders. As of 2018, you can become a sponsor for as little as 4,500 CAD. There are also more than 300 judging spots available. Looking for something more low-key? The competition also has more than 400 volunteer opportunities.
Inter-Collegiate Business Competition: Held in Kingston, Ontario, this competition brings in both Canadian and international students. It includes cases in eight areas, including accounting, finance, marketing, and human resources. Sponsorships for ICBC are particularly interesting if you’re working with limited funds — the à-la-carte pricing lets you choose only the benefits you want. In addition to presentations, there are plenty of ways to meet promising students, including the closing banquet and an evening social.
Scotiabank International Case Competition: If you’re looking to build your team before you expand internationally, the Scotiabank Case Competition is an excellent choice. One of the event’s main goals is to expose participants to people from many cultures, so it tends to attract global-minded students. Held each year in London, Ontario, the competition includes a variety of social events for easy networking. Get involved as a judge, advisor, or attendee.
Whether you’re planning to expand your team or have a complicated business problem, a case competition holds exciting opportunities. By finding a competition that matches your schedule and budget, you can get firsthand access to Canada’s most promising future professionals.