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MHC team wins second place at agribusiness case competition

November 7, 2016

Argibusiness Case 2016
(left to right) Lorene Entz, Darren Howes, Ashley Herrmann, Jordan Pomrenke, Mila Joubert, and Colton Eremenko win second place at a regional agribusiness case competition for post-secondary students.

A team of students from Medicine Hat College recently won second place at the Cor Van Raay Agribusiness Case Competition. This competition, co-hosted by the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College, brings together 12 teams from southern Alberta and Saskatchewan to tackle a real-world agribusiness problem.

“Cases expose students to specific problems that a company is facing and allows them to go through a critical-thinking, case-analysis process to come up with solutions,” says Darren Howes, faculty advisor to the runner-up team. “Cases don’t come with one right answer. They allow them to solve a problem, and then persuade the judges that their solution is a good one.”

This year’s team of five students from the Business Administration degree and diploma programs (Colton Eremenko, Ashley Herrmann, Lorene Entz, Mila Joubert, and Jordan Pomrenke) competed against teams from Lethbridge College, University of Lethbridge, Lakeland College, and University of Saskatchewan.

The scenario centered on a ranch looking to increase margins and productivity on their premium product. The MHC team provided a creative solution outside of what was expected. According to 4th year student, Herrmann, “We came up with creating a cooperative. We suggested getting several producers in the area with similar products to come together and working with one another they could collectively increase the product’s premium price.”

This approach was an innovative solution for the team from MHC which has a business program, not an agribusiness program. Fortunately, many team members were able to draw from personal experience through agricultural and farming families. Herrmann found the reaction of the one teammate without an agricultural background very interesting. “She was so fascinated by it. It makes me think that if people without that background are exposed to something like this they could develop some type of empathy for it, or be inspired to partner with some of these ag-based industries.”

The agricultural focus of this competition makes it unique among a series of case competitions in the area and Howes is very proud of this team’s success. “Their presentation was spectacular. It sounded like they had been farming at the YU Ranch for 20 years.

This win speaks to the entire business administration program at Medicine Hat College. I get to be the faculty advisor for the team, but they come with the skills they are developing in their courses, from their teachers and from personal experiences.”

All students in the Bachelor of Business Administration program take a course on case analysis as part of their degree program, and MHC students typically compete at three such competitions throughout each year.