An interdisciplinary group of University of Lethbridge students showcased their problem solving and presentation skills recently, earning first place at the 3rd Annual International Agribusiness Case Competition held at the University of Guelph.
Monica Gorham (Management, Calgary, Alta.), Rebecca Joseph (Agriculture Studies, Lamont, Alta.), Phyllis MacCallum (Agriculture Studies, Vankleek Hill, Ont.) and Lara de Moissac (Agriculture Studies, Edmonton, Alta.) were presented with a case study that proposed using insects as a fourth protein source for both human consumption and livestock feed given the global issues of population increase combined with declining water and land resources.
“These competitions give students the opportunity to apply their skills to real-world problems facing the agribusiness industry, which spans agricultural input industries to food retailing,” says Dr. Danny Le Roy, coordinator of the University’s Agriculture Studies program and Chair of the Department of Economics. “The competition involves analyzing and presenting a case study which incorporates the complexities of food systems, corporate responsibility and sustainable solutions relevant in the global agribusiness environment. In addition to the competition itself, it is also a great networking opportunity for students and faculty members who have an interest in the business of food."
Students were given five hours to deliberate on and then solve the case for presentation to a panel of judges. They were tasked with analyzing the presented problem and implementing a sustainable plan for the future. Their 15 to 18 minute presentation to judges also included fielding questions from the panel.
The top teams from the preliminary round were then given further information on the case, asked to adjust their proposals and then present for 22-25 minutes to a new set of judges.
“To finish first overall was amazing and it’s given us the opportunity to now travel to Cape Town, South Africa (June 16-19, 2014) for another case competition sponsored by the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association,” says Gorham. “Not only did this case improve my academic knowledge but it has opened up doors for the future.”
It was the first time a University of Lethbridge team had taken an interdisciplinary approach to the competition, sending students from both the Faculties of Management and Arts & Science.
“This competition really showed that when two Faculties at the University of Lethbridge work together, not only does this provide a great opportunity for students, it benchmarks success that can be duplicated in many collaborative areas in the future,” says Dan Kazakoff, director of Theory Into Practice Programs and the Chair of the Small Business Institute Advisory Council in the Faculty of Management. “These students were amazing.”
Dow Agrosciences Canada Inc. provided funding support for the team and its journey to the University of Guelph.