Dal strikes academic gold at business case competition

- January 20, 2016

JDCC co-captains Nicholas Boole (centre) and Casey Gallagher (right) with faculty advisor Florence Tarrant. (Danny Abriel photo)
JDCC co-captains Nicholas Boole (centre) and Casey Gallagher (right) with faculty advisor Florence Tarrant. (Danny Abriel photo)

To say it was a big moment for Nicholas Boole would be an understatement.

“It was the best feeling I’ve ever had,” says Nicholas, co-captain of the 2016 Rowe School of Business JDC Central team. He’s talking about when his team learned it had won the case competition’s Academic Cup.

The Rowe School has a history of strong performance at JDCC, the largest competition of its kind in Central and Eastern Canada, but this year the team outdid itself. The victory marks the first time the Rowe School has taken home the overall first prize (the Academic Cup) since the event’s inception in 2010.

As well, the team’s Marketing team placed first in its stream and the Business Strategy team placed third. Rowe student Adrian Hutcheson was named JDCC Volunteer of the Year and the Rowe sports team won the Sportsmanship Award.

Varied skills, big wins

The competition which moves from city to city each year, has undergraduate business students participate in case competitions in eight academic streams as well as in categories such as sports and debate. This year’s Rowe team, made up of approximately 40 students, made the long bus trip to Toronto to compete against 13 schools from Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes on January 8-10. It was a weekend of presentations requiring focus, preparation and energy. The event culminated in an awards ceremony at the closing gala.

Nicholas and his co-captain, Casey Gallagher, vividly recall the gala announcement where their team was announced as the overall champion..

“Everyone was cheering around Casey and me and it took me a minute to be, like, ‘Yeah, this actually happened,’” says Nicholas.

“They had to play our song three times because we wouldn’t get off the stage,” adds Casey. “They took a picture that was only supposed to be Nick and me, but the whole team joined us.”

Team spirit was a theme for the Rowe School in this year’s competition. “This was the tightest team we’ve ever been a part of,” says Nicholas. “Everyone had each other’s backs.” Casey says team members came to all events to support each other, filling the presentation rooms.

The co-captains, both both in the fourth year of Commerce degrees, had participated in JDCC in the past, but this was their first year as captains.

“I competed two years ago on the Business Strategy team and we won,” says Casey. “It really changed my university career and my professional career. It still comes up in every job interview. And I thought since I’d had that success I could bring it to others, because I know what it takes to get to the top.”

Nicholas initially came to JDCC as a basketball player competing in the sports category, and loved the way the event combines competitiveness with support of other schools. “I wanted to become captain to take Dal to the next level,” he says.

Pride and accomplishment

Florence Tarrant, faculty advisor to the team, accompanied the students to Toronto. “I am very proud of them,” she says. “They were very well prepared and presented their cases with confidence and poise.”

Dr. Tarrant notes that nine Rowe students were invited by judges and sponsors to a VIP reception, and that the weekend resulted in preliminary job interviews for some students. “It just goes to show what type of people we have at this school,” says Casey. “They come off as level-headed and interesting with great networking and social skills.”

“These students clearly demonstrated this weekend why they are the future leaders of business,” adds Dr. Tarrant, who on behalf of the team thanks the Rowe faculty and staff who helped prepare the students over the past four months. The students echo the sentiment and especially thank Dr. Tarrant herself: “Not only did she coach two teams, she was present as much as she could be,” says Casey.

After nine months of work—the co-captains started the administrative side of their job last May—and one exhausting weekend during which they got about six hours of sleep, Nicholas and Casey are grateful for the experience and their teammates.

“Nick and I are getting a lot of recognition right now, but it was really them too at the end of the day,” says Casey.

Nicholas says being a captain was the most rewarding experience he’s ever had.

“Everyone on the team got along like they were best friends,” he says. “It was amazing to see. Our success was the result of a team effort. The countless hours of hard work of all of the Rowe competitors, from sports to debate to the academic streams, shone through in that Academic Cup.”

The Rowe School of Business team’s podium finishes:

First Place, Academic Cup
First Place, Marketing: Kelly Hawa, Samantha Loren, Corlyn Turner
Third Place, Business Strategy: Luke Bradica, Steph Kitchen, Lucas MacFayden
Sportsmanship Award: Jessie Blanchard, Megan Ferris, Jefferson Guest, Brett Hunt, Barbara Jenkinson, Matthew Main, Torsten Palmer, Davis Taylor
Volunteer of the Year Award: Adrian Hutcheson
School MVP Award: Connor Ross


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