From November 14-16, 2015 in Lethbridge, Alberta four students from Medicine Hat College’s (MHC) Division of Business and Enterprise competed, and placed fourth, in the first annual Cor Van Raay Agribusiness Case Competition.
The students – Ashley Herrmann, Colton Eremenko, Michelle Edwards and Mike Kraemer – all came with an agricultural background as well as knowledge in various aspects of business.
“The success of this team comes from the enthusiasm and commitment of the students- the will and the want to win,” says Darren Howes, department chair. “All of the students had an agricultural background - which is critically important to this competition. We also had good cross-representation across the business disciplines. We had an accounting major, financial services major, as well as two students in the management degree program with a marketing background.”
The competition consisted of ten teams, with events occurring throughout the weekend.
On the first day, participants attended a networking event and briefing of the competition rules. The following morning they received their case, were given four hours to analyze and create a presentation, and then were asked to speak in front of a panel of judges. In the evening, during a banquet, the top four teams were announced and given one hour to alter their presentation for the final round, the next day.
Herrmann explains that their team’s case was based around succession planning and helping a farmer create a plan for a sustainable operation.
“It was exciting and stressful all at the same time,” says Herrmann. “I felt we had an advantage because of our backgrounds. I grew up on a family farm that was handed down to my family from my grandparents. My family has gone through a very similar situation, it is something that is common in the agricultural community today.”
Herrmann also merits her education, in particular her business integration class, as a reason for their success.
Howes explains that competing in events like this is not a new practice for the division, they are always mindful of opportunities to enhance their students’ learning.
“Anytime we can take students and provide an experiential learning environment it solidifies the theories and concepts they are learning in the classroom,” says Howes. “This is something that is very important to the business program and we are always mindful of finding new opportunities. The skills students develop in the competition will serve the region well once they enter the workforce.”
If you are interested in learning more about the activities happening at MHC, visit www.mhc.ab.ca.
Interested in supporting students in experiential learning? Contact Trish O’Grady, development officer for the foundation at 403.502.8997 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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