The intended audience of this post is all participants of JDC West 2019, notably those whom I had the chance to meet and interact with.
Through the January 12-13 weekend of 2019, the JDC West competition took place with the theme of “Shaping Tomorrow.” I had the honour and privilege to serve as an academic judge with the Operations Management discipline, a new category debuting on the campus of host school SFU.
First and foremost, I’d like to offer a heartfelt congratulations to all delegates of JDC West, the supporters/champions of these students, and especially to the 200+ volunteers who planned and executed this weekend which will be remembered for many years to come. Bravo!
Along with my fellow judges Nathan Armstrong, Jason Yu, Dom Wong, and Niall Duggan., I received presentations from 12 delegate teams hailing from top business schools across Western Canada. We had to score each team across the areas of Situational Analysis, Strategic Recommendation, Implementation, Q&A Management, and Presentation Structure & Delivery.
Across the board, there was agreement on how impressed we were by the competitors. It was apparent to us that each team brought their A-game to this challenging program. Not only was this the culmination of training for 6-8 months, we also appreciated the risk taken on by each team when choosing to tackle a brand new academic discipline. Kudos to all!
Now that JDC West has concluded for the year, there are a few thoughts I’d like to share with delegates:
For a moment, forget how your team scored this weekend. Take stock of the bigger picture and be proud of having taken part in JDC West. Think of your journey to arrive here. Think of the nerve-wracking interviews to qualify for the team. Think of how much hard work you’ve put into studying and practising. Think of the countless relationships you’ve developed. Think of the lives you’ve impacted through your fundraising. Think of how you’ve matured as an individual. Think of the big love in your heart from JDC West. There is so much to be celebrated.
As you well know, JDC West is not only a business competition to demonstrate excellence when faced with a particular challenge. There is massive emphasis on community involvement, camaraderie, and spirited competition. I hope you remember these lessons and carry the values through to the rest of your life. I promise this will bring you joy and fulfillment (ahem, they’re at the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy after all :P).
Know that case competitions are a world of their own. Think of them as an introduction for how things work in the business world, providing you with a broad understanding of important concepts. The skills you’ve learned are transferable, but you must discern the extent to which some are are competition-specific and others have real-world applicability. Also, remember humility in knowing that you’ve only scratched the tip of some tremendous icebergs. If something in this journey has piqued your interest, dig in :)
For example, look up Ansoff Matrix, Risk Management, Responsibility Assignment Matrix, Strategy Choice Cascade, Business Valuation, Nine Box Matrix… there is so much to learn and there are so many people to learn from!
Most business competitions and business school educations emphasize strategy. It’s undoubtedly important and there are good vs bad frameworks, HOWEVER, do not underestimate the importance and challenge of implementation. Execution is just as - if not more - important, and you’ve heard the saying, “Execution is King.” Find any business owner/leader that you respect and admire, and have a conversation with them about this.
Having a framework for conducting rigorous analysis of something, in a MECE manner, backed by evidence, and synthesized into a cohesive recommendation, is such an important skill. This skill will serve you exceedingly well no matter what path in life you choose to pursue. It is also very difficult to master. It will take many reps and experiences to fine tune. And it will depend on the specific contexts you find yourself in.
Regardless of your score this weekend, every team/individual put their best forward today and each had areas for improvement. Leverage what you’ve experienced and learned through this competition/weekend to continue your learning and development journey. Remember the theme of this year, Shaping Tomorrow. You are still very early in your lives and careers. Stay humble, stay hungry, keep learning, keep practising, continue to hone your craft, and never stop helping others.
It’s been an honour. I am truly inspired and enthusiastic for what your futures hold in store, and I so look forward to encountering you around the world.
Until we meet again, I bid you happy trails on your return trips, good luck on your endeavours, and hope you enjoy a happy and healthy 2019 :)
Image credit: JDC West website.
About JDC West:
JDC West is the largest business competition in Western Canada. It is a three-day event that showcases academics, athletics, debate, and an out-of-the-box social competition.
This prestigious event hosts approximately 650 undergraduate delegates from twelve universities across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Each team is awarded points based on their respective rankings, and are accumulated towards one university winning the coveted title of “School of the Year”.
JDC West 2019 will be hosted at the Beedie School of Business.