Left to Right: Narine
Bolghourjian, Souraya Eid, Asiya Iskakova, Matthew Trotter, Mr. Hagop Panossian (Coach).
A team of graduate students from the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business (OSB) reached semi-finals and won top honors at the 36th MBA International Case Competition (ICC), the world's oldest and most prestigious competition of its kind, hosted by the John Molson School of Business, Concordia University, Canada.
Coached by management and strategy instructor- Mr. Hagop Panossian, OSB's team members Narine Bolghourjian, Souraya Eid, Asiya Iskakova, and Matthew Trotter were the most recent entrants to the competition. Despite a fierce competition put up by the participating universities, OSB's team went through the primary round as the only undefeated team, to reach the semi-finals for the first time in its history. “We knew our students could excel at the national and regional levels. It was quite exhilarating to see them bring their performance up to international and global levels," Panosssian said.
The team also won top honors, receiving the Richard Outcault Team Spirit Award, in addition to the Divisional Leader Award. The Team Spirit Award is granted to the team that has demonstrated genuine team spirit and outstanding collaboration.
This year's competition hosted 36 top business schools from 18 countries for a six-day event. Teams were given unpublished business cases and challenged to apply their skills, creativity and knowledge learned in class to present feasible outcomes in a round-robin tournament style.
With just three hours of preparation time, limited use of Microsoft Office software and no access to the Internet, teams were expected to come up with a PowerPoint presentation as a final product to impress a remarkable panel of judges, formed of more than 300 business executives.
“Case competitions are a central part of the new business school culture that allows schools to both compare themselves in practice to the world's best and brightest, and to provide opportunity for extraordinary student development and experiential learning," OSB's Dean Steve Harvey explains. Since his arrival at OSB, Dr. Harvey has stressed the importance of building a strong business case competition program at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
It is clear that students grow and develop extensively in these competitions. According to Souraya, “Taking the learning process out of the classroom and into the world of business has added so much value to our respective programs and has helped us broaden our knowledge and understanding of the business world." Her sentiment was echoed by Matthew, another team member who added, “It was a great privilege to represent OSB at the John Molson MBA International Case Competition and I'm so proud of our accomplishments. As the highest-scorers of all 36 teams after the divisional rounds, we showed that AUB can compete head-to-head with top business schools – and win!"