Business students win Honorable Mention in global business competition

Wed, May 14, 2014

Metro Vancouver, B.C. – A team of business students from Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) won Honorable Mention at the annual APEX Biz-IT Global Case Competition in Singapore last week.

Students Gabby Gill, Jason Faria and Vishal Mohan represented the only Canadian university in the global challenge’s six-team final. The KPU delegation ranked fourth out of the 25 teams – representing universities on three continents – that competed. Hosted by Singapore Management University (SMU), APEX has first launched in 2009, and KPU has been sending a delegation since 2010.

“I was so excited with the performance of our team,” said Mohan, a fourth-year accounting student. “I would recommend the experience to anyone, and encourage them to challenge themselves and compete in a case competition. It is one of the most realistic environments for students to be in. You get a good sense of what a real world consultant goes through.”

“The whole process was unforgettable one, starting with the support from our coaches down to the co-ordination from SMU and their organizing committee,” added Faria, who is in KPU’s entrepreneurial leadership program. “Reaching the grand finals really validated all the hard work and weekends that we all put in, and hopefully our experience allows other students and faculty to see the benefit of becoming involved in other similarly offered programs.”

Each year, KPU's School of Business has recruited students with the academic prowess and presentation skills required to succeed in a case competition. KPU students then begin weekly training sessions as early as the start of the fall semester, where they analyze business cases and make presentations to faculty. For at least five hours a week, outside of class time, students prepare for APEX.

According to Robert Wood, KPU business instructor, that figure more than doubles in the two to three weeks prior to the competition.

”Success in these competitions is a combination of the quality of the business solution presented to the panel of judges, and the students' professionalism in the presentation itself. Although there are no specific guidelines on the scoring, it is generally accepted that it is a 30 per cent presentation and 70 per cent analysis split,” explained Wood, who has accompanied KPU teams to Singapore on several occasions.

"Student performance under competitive pressure is a clear marker of program quality. The KPU team, the only Canadian university team to advance to the final round, demonstrated their capabilities against 24 other university teams from Asia, Europe, the USA and Canada,” said Wayne Tebb, Dean of KPU’s School of Business.

KPU has had a history of success competing in the international competition. In 2012, the university placed first, with team member Natasha Campbell winning best speaker.

The APEX Biz-IT challenge, hosted by the School of Information Systems at SMU, emphasizes how information technology can be used in innovative ways to meet strategic business challenges. The case provided to students each year highlights current and emerging problems, technology options, implementation scenarios and managerial choices that managers face.

This year, students worked on a case with global reach: developing a sustainable green solution for an Asian Pacific logistics company.

“It was truly an honour to have been associated with the 2014 APEX case competition and this KPU team in particular," said Carlos Calao, who accompanied the KPU team to Singapore, and has worked with them over the past year as their faculty mentor and coach. "Robert’s preparation methodology was critical in getting the team ready for the challenges facing them in Singapore. From my perspective, the fact KPU successfully reached the finals of this international case competition two out of the last three years speaks volumes to KPU's curriculum delivery methodology and the quality of student attending our institution.”

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been serving the Metro Vancouver region for 30 years, and has opened doors to success for more than 250,000 people. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts, science, design, health, trades and technology, apprenticeships, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 19,000 students annually have a choice from over 145 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates and citations. Learn more at


Caption: (From left) Stephan Schablinski, judge and representative of the Singapore Economic Development Board; accounting students Vishal Mohan and Gabby Gill; KPU business instructor Carlos Calao; entrepreneurial leadership student Jason Faria.

Media contact:
Hayley Woodin
Media Specialist, KPU
t: 604.599.2883
c: 604.364.1288

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