Sunday, 17 March 2013

The results are in

"If you participate in the olympics and don't win a gold medal, doesn't mean you aren't an olympian." Well, as you probably figured out, we did not make it into the final round at the International Agribusiness Case Competition

On Friday morning at 8 am we picked up a very thick case we were to analyze. It was regarding the Sustainable Agricultural Initiative and how it could move forward in the coming years. There was a list of questions that we had to answer and analyze in five hours. We did fantastic! We provided recommendations, an implementation procedure as well as a timeline for our suggestions. We rocked the presentation and the question period. There were two rooms of seven presentations, and of each room only three teams were selected for the finals. After our presentation, we waited 7 hours for the results. 

When we spoke to our judges after they announced the finalist teams, she assured us that we had covered everything we needed to and our presentation skills were excellent. The reason we did not advance to the finals was that we did not go in depth as well as the teams that finished ahead of us did. To our comfort, the team that finished third in our room, which placed us fourth, was a team of graduate students who had more experience then we did. Furthermore, the three top teams of the competition were the ones selected from our room- so essentially we placed fourth :P

All in all, this experience was amazing. It provided us with presentation skills, and tested our analytic abilities. Our team worked extremely well together, and I am looking forward to next year. 

Thank you once again to everyone who helped us get here! 

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Its almost show time!

So it is the night before the competition. Our last group member and our coach have flown in, and we are hitting the hay early tonight! We have to be up and pick up our case for 8 am and have it completed by 1 pm.

When we win tomorrow, we will be given more information on our case and must present on Saturday morning. We have to have the extended presentation completed by 1 am on Saturday morning. Tomorrow is going to be a longggggg day!!

Yesterday we tried to do our own tour of the University of Guelph. Luckily we stopped by the right offices. We stopped at the Animal Science office hoping we could get someone to show us around their facilities. Andy Robinson, the chair of Animal & Poultry Science was nice enough to drop what he was doing and give us a tour of their barns and research facilities that are located on campus! They have a brand new multi-million dollar equine facility, and quite up-to-date dry-cow dairy facilities as well. I was impressed by the level of the infrastructure that was at a University (I guess maybe Ontario government sets aside more money in their budget for post secondary then Alberta does [particularly agriculture].) It was great to see such great animal handling and science facilities at the college- goes to prove the value Canadians have in agriculture.

We also stopped at the crop science building and found the facilities manager to give us a tour of their crop research end of things. We were able to take a look at the growth rooms they have for different experiments ranging from disease treatments (finally got to see what club root really looks like!) to nutrient deficiencies. It was interesting to see how they plant the seeds and how they grow them to replicate a real field.

We would like to extend our many thanks to Andy and Dietmar for their excellent tours! You may have just convinced us (well got me thinking about it anyways) to possibly attend grad school at the University of Guelph. Your facilities are fantastic and the atmosphere is great!

Now I better get to bed so I have a clear head for the competition tomorrow! Hopefully your won't hear form me for a few days..... that means we did well and have no time for posts! :)

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

And I'm off once again.....

It seems like I have my greatest posts right from the airport...... Considering I don't fly very often I find this very saddening! But I guess what else is there to do when you are waiting for your 1240 flight to depart and it is 1120 am. (Yes Yes I got here too early!)

I am off to the University of Guelph to compete in my very first case competition! We will be competing against 14 other teams from around the world. The competition sounds very prestigious, being the International Agribusiness Sustainability Case Competition. Myself and three students from the University of Lethbridge will be representing ULeth at this international competition. Our entire team has the advantage of being from an agricultural background, and three of us are studying Agriculture. Our fourth member is completing her Management degree in Finance. Our knowledge should make us unstoppable!

Almost every one I have told about this always asks me, "What is a case competition?" Well here is some background specific to the set-up of this competition.

When we get to Guelph, they will give us the case to analyze for 5 hours. We have no idea what the context of the case will be until 830 am on Friday morning. We will then present on our analysis some recommendations and how to implement these recommendations.

In the past month our Management professors have been helping us prepare. Once a week we have met to analyze a different type of "agricultural sustainability" case. They have included a small farm that is not sure how to plan for the future of their family business; a multi-national multi-billion dollar company that has outside lobby groups attacking their procedures of harvesting inputs; as well as a company that is not sure how to move forward in the "free-trade" market.

Each of these cases were analyzed for five hours and presented on in 20 minutes, with 10 minutes open for questions. This will be the context of our competition, which makes me nervous! I hope five hours will give us enough time! When we win the first round, we will be given more information on the case and must expand on our presentation and present on Saturday morning.

This competition also serves as a qualifier for a competition in Atlanta! (Not like we needed to add any more pressure to ourselves!)

We are extremely excited to be given this opportunity. We will be the first ULeth team to compete, so we have some high expectations to fulfill. This competition promises to challenge us with something we have never done before and provide numerous networking opportunities. We would like to send our greatest thanks to our coach Steve Craig, and our faculty advisors Dan Kazakoff and Danny LeRoy.  More thanks goes to Jeff Davidson, Edith Olsen and Pascal Ghazlian for watching our presentations and giving us feedback.

We would also like to thank everyone who made financial contributions to our team. At this point I do not want to name any names in case I forget someone. I promise to follow up in subsequent posts.

Wish us luck! :)