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Haskayne wraps up 2017 business competition season with international victory in Dubai

Faculty adviser Bob Schulz credits team's deep field experience with refugees for the success of their social enterprise
March 28, 2017

The Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary has outdone itself by snagging a huge win on a global scale at the regional finals in Dubai at the 2017 HULT prize, the world’s largest and most prestigious social enterprise competition. The Haskayne team will travel to Washington, D.C. in September to compete for the grand prize of $1 million to pursue their enterprise.

The 2017 challenge focused on improving the lives of 10 million refugees over the next five years. 

“We won because we were on the ground and listened first-hand to the refugees,” says Bob Schulz, professor and faculty adviser. “We have a lot of experience in the field while the other teams did not have the expertise we do.”

There were over 50,000 entries from all disciplines and all academic levels. The applicants were short-listed to a total of 300 teams competing in five regions: Dubai, Shanghai, Boston, San Francisco, and London.

The presentation members of the winning team were William Akoto, EMBA'18, Medina Dehatee, EMBA'17, Frances Duahn, EMBA'18, and Richelle Matthews, BA’05. Onsite technical support was provided by Zeid Ayoub, BComm'17. The team was fearlessly led by Prof. Schulz.

“The people on our team have first-hand experience with this issue. Frances was a refugee in Uganda, William was born in Ghana, Medina moved from Tajikistan and worked for UN, and Richelle has over 10 years of international development experience in Africa and Bangladesh,” says Schulz.

“Every camp is different. Every country is different. So, one size does not fit all. You have to listen to the person on the ground to find a viable solution.

“We have a lot of work to do to get to the next phase. We are now looking at refugee camps in Iraq and Jordan,” continues Schulz.

In addition to dominating on the global scale, Haskayne students are known as fierce competitors on the national case competition circuit that featured top competitions: Rotman International Trading Competition (RITC), JDC West, and the Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (ICBC).

Rotman International Trading Competition

On Feb. 24-25, five Haskayne School of Business undergraduates and one Schulich School of Engineering undergraduate placed second in a field of 52 teams at the Rotman International Trading Competition (RITC).

“The Haskayne-led U of C team at the RITC consisted of undergraduate students, but the majority of the 52 teams consisted of graduate students. And a majority of those were from specialized graduate programs in finance with titles like Master of Financial Engineering. Despite this daunting competition, our team placed second,” says Gordon Sick, team coach.

 “The University of Calgary team has had a remarkable succession of placements since 2014: 5th, 4th, 3rd and now 2nd. We’d like to complete the sequence next year.”

The University of Calgary team this year consisted of the following undergraduate students: Joel Adams (Schulich), Brandon Hrycenko, Chase MacDougall, Ian McKenzie, Felicia Specht, and Tom Widdowson. The team was coached by Gordon Sick and George Hart.

JDC West

On Jan. 13-15, Haskayne undergraduate students travelled to Edmonton to compete at the University of Alberta at the annual JDC West competition. Team Haskayne placed first in Accounting, second in International Business, and third in Business Strategy, Marketing, Not for Profit, and Finance.

Haskayne also walked away with third for School of the Year.

“I think this year's Haskayne JDC West team showed us the great consistency of our students' performances as we achieved the podium in six of the 10 academic streams and performed well in social, debate, and athletics,” says Cameron Welsh, team adviser.

“I also think this year's performances will bring a confidence to next year's team when we host JDC West right here at Haskayne.”

Inter-Collegiate Business Competition

ICBC is Canada’s longest-running undergraduate business case competition. It is annually held in Kingston, Ont. and hosts over 100 competitors from top business schools across Canada and around the world. The competition ran Jan. 19-21 and the Haskayne undergraduate team achieved gold in Finance, gold in Business Policy and bronze in Management of Information Systems

Over the past 39 years, the Haskayne team has worked hard to uphold their reputation at this prestigious competition, and this year’s student group, under the tutelage of their advisers Bob Schulz and Larry Wood, continued the tradition against an intensely competitive field.

“We have won a total of 90 gold medals, far more than any other team,” says Schulz.

“It gives an objective measure by business judges when they see the quality of our students. After all these years it provides a clear indication the student skills at Haskayne are higher than any other school in Canada on a level playing field.”

“I’d like to give special recognition to Larry Wood, who has been helping me for close to 30 years. He is a key reason why we’ve performed so well in finance, business policy and accounting,” concludes Schulz.

The winning HULT Prize team shows off the trophy they won in the Dubai regionals.
Photo Credit: Ashley Tymko, Haskayne School of Business

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