York student on team that wins business competition

Call him one of the Apprentices!

Paul Shin (left), of York’s Schulich School of Business, and seven other business students from across Canada beat three other teams to win this year’s Impact Apprentice competition in Vancouver.

The annual national competition pits four teams of eight against each other for The Apprentice title. Over four days, teams completed a series of challenges that demonstrated their mettle in sales, consulting, advertising and management. Judges awarded points for leadership, management and teamwork and gave the title to the team with the most points.

Shin, a fourth-year student in the International BBA program, and two other Schulich students – MBA students Shaker Rawan and Parikshit Ralhan – were among the 32 finalists selected from about 300 who applied from universities and colleges across Canada to compete in this year’s Impact Apprentice contest. Rawan’s team placed second.

Impact is a student-run, non-profit organization that promotes entrepreneurship and leadership in Canada. It hosts national and regional conferences, competitions, including Impact Apprentice, and networking events for thousands of the top high-school and post-secondary students each year.

The Apprentice competition took place in Vancouver June 26-29. Designed to give competitors a chance to apply the skills and strategies they’ve learned, this year’s competition posed the following real business challenges:

  • The Consulting Challenge: Sponsored by Research in Motion, teams had to create a plan to introduce the BlackBerry to new consumer markets.
  • The Sales Challenge: Sponsored by Nestlé, teams had to sell a certain number of Kit Kat Singles then re-invest the money.
  • The Travel Cuts Challenge: Sponsored by Travel Cuts, teams created a business plan to launch the GAP program based on a budget of $100,000.
  • The Advertising Challenge: Sponsored by Microsoft, teams created experiential marketing campaigns to promote the Microsoft Office 2007 suite to high-school and university students.
  • The Management Challenge: Sponsored by TELUS, teams ran promotional activities for SPARK at four different TELUS store locations in downtown Vancouver.

At the end of each day, the team that wins the daily challenge is given a reward. The losing teams reported to the boardroom to be grilled by executives about their strategies and performance.

As a member of the winning team, Shin has not only earned The Apprentice title, he shares a $10,000 prize. His teammates, called Team Heregei, came from the University of Waterloo, Queen’s University, University of Toronto, University of Calgary, University of Western Ontario, University of British Columbia and McMaster University.

Shin recently spent five months studying in Paris. Last summer, he studied, taught and travelled in East Asia. He is interested in sustainable enterprise and managing startup firms that will create a better future for his generation. He plans to do an internship at a large environmental company in Paris.

Rawan (left) is specializing in strategy and entrepreneurship as an MBA student at Schulich. He owns and operates SMR Labs Inc., a consulting company that develops information technology (IT) systems to help customers become more competitive. Before SMR, he was president of iNode Incorporated, an IT startup specializing in outsourcing of technical support and maintenance services.

Ralhan (left), an MBA student at Schulich, is a computer science engineer who has worked in the IT services and consulting industry in India, the USA and China. This summer he is a business analyst intern at Telus. At Schulich, he is marketing and communications director of the school’s Business Case Analysis Club, was host for the day at the school’s South Asian Business Conference, and has raised money for tsunami relief.

For more details about the competition and the finalists, visit Impact Apprentice. For more information about the organization, visit Impact.