Lazaridis MBA students set the stage for The Toronto Symphony Orchestra in the 2015 LiveICE case competition

Very few musical organizations in Canada can measure up to the caliber of The Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO). With its sweeping performances and a diverse ensemble of talent, The TSO continues to delight its audiences, with CEO & Laurier Alumnus Jeff Melanson at the helm. However, recent shifts in the orchestra’s customer demography and demands has led the organization to search for a better vision, and a better tomorrow.

Seeing an opportunity to combine the Lazaridis MBA’s integrated core methodology, with the orchestra’s real-world challenges, Lazaridis MBA’s Director Dr. Hugh Munro focused this year’s Lazaridis MBA LiveICE case on the matter. With teams from the Lazaridis MBA Toronto Part-time Alternate Weekends cohort approaching this case, The TSO received an inundation of fresh perspectives that centered on molding a new vision for the orchestra and their audience. Melanson says, “The LIVE ICE experience provided some interesting analysis on the current situation and potential future strategy for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. I was truly impressed by the quality of the insights offered by students, who would have had absolutely no prior knowledge of my sector or organization before tackling this case. Many of these insights were spot on and very consistent with the revised strategy for the TSO moving forward. I would encourage any business leader to open themselves to this excellent experience.”


By applying strategies that satisfied all of the TSO’s organizational aspects, the winning team of this year’s Toronto LiveICE Case Competition, Sean Flinn, Brian Clare, Melanie Agopian, Rob Connolly and Sharon Steele, pitched an effective plan that meshed well with the non-profit nature of The TSO.

“It was really interesting to apply the frameworks we learned in class to a real-time and live issue, especially because of the unique type of organization the TSO is — a long-standing not-for-profit and an important part of our city’s cultural mosaic. Each of our team members had a unique vantage point from finance to innovation to marketing and accounting, which made the process that much more robust. And of course, one of the best parts of the process was wrapping up the day by hearing Jeff Melanson’s own perspective of the TSO and his turnaround strategy — it’s not every day you get to hear a first-hand account of an organization directly from its CEO.”Melanie Agopian, Lazaridis MBA Candidate

About Lazaridis MBA’s LiveICE Case Competition

The Annual LiveICE Case Competition is one of the Lazaridis MBA program’s distinguishing features. Rather than relying solely off of historic cases, the LiveICE tests the aptitudes of our MBA students by exposing them to present-day scenarios, connected to real-world stakeholders. With an emphasis on long-term sustainability and big-picture perspectives, the Lazaridis MBA LiveICE Case Competition is renowned to be a great platform for idea generation.

“The opportunity to be involved in the LiveICE Case Competition allowed us to become more confident in our strategy development skills, and present our ideas to Executives living and breathing their pressing concerns. It was as real-life as it gets!”
Sharon Steele, Lazaridis MBA Candidate

To learn more about our students’ experiences in the LiveICE Case Competition, view the below video and visit The Lazaridis MBA Integrated Core webpage.

To learn more about The Toronto Symphony Orchestra, visit their website here.