Desautels Cup highlights new integrated MBA

Inaugural Desautels Cup winners Sabina Tang, Oko Shio, Linqiang Zheng and Andrés Màsmela.

By Ron Duerksen

Highlighting its redesigned MBA program, the Desautels Faculty of Management ended 2008 with a bang – and a little friendly competition. The inaugural Desautels Cup, a mandatory case competition for first year MBA students, challenged participants to put their accumulated first-semester knowledge to the test.

“The competition was the perfect way to showcase the knowledge and skills we have gained through the new integrated curriculum,” explained Andrés Màsmela, a member of the winning team along with Oko Shio, Sabina Tang and Linqiang Zheng.

The new MBA core curriculum covers traditional topics such as Economics, Accounting, Finance and Marketing, but does so by combining several disciplines at once to solve specific business problems from multiple angles.

“This new approach to integrated management ensures that our graduates will be the best equipped to handle the complex global issues facing business today”, said Professor Omar Toulan, Associate Dean Academic.

Over three days, students competed by solving a different real-life case within three hours and presenting their recommended strategies to judging panels made up of prominent business leaders, including Alan Desnoyers, Former Senior Vice President of TD Business Banking, Rob Fetherstonhaugh, President of RBN Fether Capital Advisors, Louis Gendron, Managing Director of National Bank Financial, and Barbara Shore, President of Shore and Associates.

Students were challenged to find ways for Starbucks to increase shareholder value despite declining sales, recommend how Research in Motion’s Blackberry should approach R&D while competing against the iPhone, and how Oliver Wyman, a global consulting group, should best take advantage of recent acquisitions to increase value to customers.

Members of the winning team attributed their success to being able to apply the best integrated management approach to solving each case. “We looked at each case from all angles and offered solutions that combined various disciplines from HR strategies and marketing to finance and operations,” said Oko Shio. “We also took advantage of our individual experiences and cultural knowledge. I’m from Tanzania, Andrés is from Colombia, Linquiang is from China and Sabina is Canadian. We each had a unique perspective to offer that resulted in a holistic approach to solving each case.”

“This marks the beginning of what will become a long-standing tradition at Desautels,” Toulan said. “The Desautels Cup will continue to showcase our innovative and integrated approach to management education for years to come.”