Competing against more than 180 teams across the nation, two students from York University’s Schulich School of Business won first place in the annual Canada’s Next Top Ad Executive competition.
As 2019 champions, students Jaclyn Shapiro (MMgt ’19) and Michelle Vacarciuc (MMgt ’19) took home the grand prize of $25,000. They were also awarded the Market Research Award for providing the most insightful and innovative use of data for the competition.
This is the second year in a row that a Schulich team has won the competition. Last year, Phil Gingras (MBA ’18) and Marta Michalek (MBA ’18) were recognized as the the first Schulich students to win.
This year’s sponsor, Microsoft Canada Inc., asked competitors to develop a marketing plan to attract more millennials to their Azure website and to establish the company as the thought leader for artificial intelligence across Canada.
The competition, now in its 13th year, was divided into three increasingly competitive phases that began with an open call for submissions in January. Teams had to provide a brief of their creative marketing solution, and of the 184 submissions from 28 schools, only 25 teams were selected to advance to the semi-finals and tasked with producing a detailed strategy report for their concept.
The top 10 teams entered the third and final phase, in which finalists delivered a 25-minute presentation to a panel of senior marketing executives.
The two winning students believe Schulich marketing instructor Joe Fayt played a key role in their success.
“He was so supportive and would arrange his schedule around ours for the two weeks leading up to the finals,” said Shapiro. “Schulich’s strong and supportive community is unlike any other and we are very proud to be a part of it.”
“Jaclyn and Michelle created a well-researched and insightful recommendation, and delivered it very professionally,” said Fayt. “They represented Schulich in the best possible light, and I am very proud of them both.”