York’s Atkinson School of Administrative Studies (SAS) students have what it takes for delivering business presentations. On March 13 at the Best Western Primrose Hotel in Toronto, teams of third- and fourth-year SAS students faced competition from teams of other Ontario business students, and were declared overall winners of an inaugural XLerate business case competition.
XLerate is a motivational student-driven organization, founded at Wilfrid Laurier University, that focuses on helping students develop key business skills, with the broader aim of helping them excel academically and achieve personal and career goals. Professor Alan Marshall of Atkinson’s SAS, who was a judge at the competition, encouraged York students to take up the challenge offered by the inaugural competition.
“Every business student should be encouraged to participate in this type of friendly competition. The case study problems are not designed to be difficult,” said Marshall, adding, “The purpose of the competition is to get the participants to apply common sense analysis and put that into an effective presentation. It’s a great team-building exercise, too. And, due to the restriction on presentation aids, the emphasis is placed on the quality of the analysis and speaking skills of the team members. It is a great learning experience.”
Right: Alan Marshall
Teams participating in the competition were given a business case study at 11am, and at 1:30pm they began presenting their recommendations to panels of judges, who evaluated them on the soundness of their analysis and quality of presentation style. No presentation aids were allowed, other than flipchart paper and pens.
Atkinson entered two teams of four students each, all of whom were from the Faculty’s bachelor of administrative studies program (BAS) and BAS-ITEC programs. Other teams came from York’s Schulich School of Business, Wilfrid Laurier University, University of Waterloo, University of Guelph-Humber and Ryerson University, for a total of 16 teams.
The University’s winning team members from Atkinson are Don Foley, Alexandra Nesterova, Olga Pelipenko and Dennis Zolotoverkhi. The other team of Navena Nikolic, Ravi Patel, Salman Ul-Haq and Anjeli Visani performed well, although they did not advance to the final round.
“Overall, I think the case competition was successful, especially for a first attempt,” said member of the winning team and fourth-year BAS student, Alexandra Nesterova. “If I could improve anything, it would probably be to add an entertainment night or a get-together where competitors from opposing teams could talk to each other in an informal way. I am looking forward to competing again next year.”
“Based on what we saw at the first competition, I think XLerate will be a great organization for students,” said Marshall. “The conferences and case competitions will provide an excellent opportunity for students to interact and compete with students from other universities. Developing and improving presentation skills will be extremely valuable to students in their careers.
“We are starting up an XLerate chapter here at York,” Marshall added. “There are plans next year for two interuniversity conferences – and we hope York can host one of them – and case competitions. In addition, the York chapter will hold intramural case competitions for York students.