There’s more to an MBA than you think!

More often than not, people think that earning an MBA degree is just about taking classes. But at the Lazaridis MBA, this isn’t the case. The various MBA program options at the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics offer students a wide range of additional hands-on opportunities to apply what they are learning in the classroom. An example of this is encouraging participation in immersive case competitions.

At the Lazaridis School, the Aspen Business & Society International MBA Case Competition is a highlight for most students. Bringing together students from more than 20 different business schools, the Aspen Case Competition requires students to tackle challenging cases, while presenting solutions to high level juries — an experience students would not be able to achieve in the classroom. Eric Goll, MBA’14, was one of the four talented students to both take part and win first prize at the 2014 Aspen competition in New York.

“It awoke my social conscience,” says Goll, of his participation in the global social innovation competition. “With an MBA, you can sometimes get focused on how to efficiently run an organization and how to be a great leader, and the social impact can get lost in that.”

The Aspen Case Competition provided participants with the opportunity to work with a real live case and have the solutions implemented — which was something that stood out to Goll. Using the skills developed and networks formed from case competitions, Goll recently founded his own social venture in Kitchener — Empowering Ability — where he works to get families and individuals living with disabilities better integrated into society.

In providing networking opportunities, to giving students the chance to put their knowledge to use in real-life scenarios, integrative case competitions augment in-class learning. Whether you are competitive by nature, or could use some motivation to challenge yourself, participating in case competitions offer an excellent chance to engage with those around you while making memorable experiences.

“In the past few years, you can see an increasing number of Canadian schools being represented internationally,” says Rose-Lyn Boghos, director of competitions for the Canadian Association of Business Students. “Definitely, universities are putting more resources into it.” Like our counterparts, the Lazaridis School is helping drive the trend of case competitions becoming serious business.

Several employers recognize the value and importance of international experience, and it is certainly a very desirable quality in potential candidates. The skills acquired while travelling are infinite, and largely applicable to any work environment.

With our world growing in its need for globally-minded people, one of the best ways to achieve this is through travel — and what better way to do so than alongside earning your MBA degree? The John Molson International Case Competition brings more than 30 schools from 13 countries, allowing students to immerse themselves in different cultures and build on their classroom experiences. This year’s Lazaridis team — Elly Bradley, Kiri Olekas, Taylor Hansen and Christina Wilson — did extremely well at this competition, winning 4 out of 5 cases.

Networking, hands-on experience, and the chance to travel — there is no denying that case competitions have substantial benefits. No matter the outcome, when it comes to case competitions, participation is definitely worthwhile.