OC Business students shine at international competition

By Public Affairs | January 28, 2021
           

Kayla Berlinski
Kayla Berlinski

While COVID-19 travel restrictions cheated two Okanagan College business administration students out of an opportunity to visit Kingston, Ont. in mid-winter, the duo now have an international quality achievement that will serve to enhance their post-graduation resumes.

As the OC Accounting team, Kayla Berlinski and Zina Park earned a third-place finish at the Queen’s University Intercollegiate Business Competition (ICBC), which draws post-secondary business student teams from around the world. Organizers describe the event as “Canada’s largest, oldest and most prestigious undergraduate case competition.”

Similar to many other events and competitions, the pandemic forced the student organizers of the Queen’s competition to take theirs online this year. It began with qualifying rounds that determined which teams proceeded to the final weekend. Okanagan College had six teams begin the process, with three being chosen to proceed to the finals.

Park and Berlinski formed one of three OC teams who earned a place in the finals. They were coached by Okanagan College Professors Adrian Fontenla, Mary Ann Knoll and Josh Widmann.

The other two teams who made it to the finals were comprised of students Makayla Hawthorne and Nico Dirksen (the Finance team, coached by Mike Hazen and Graham Moir), and students Rachel Wehrmann and Matty-Lyn Fedorowich (the Human Resources team, coached by Roger Wheeler and Bob Groves).

“The caliber of the competition was extremely high, it was an honour to have the chance to compete at finals weekend,” explained Berlinski. “The most stressful part about competing virtually was the possibility of a technical issue disrupting us on presentation day. However, we were able to work out a lot of technical issues during our practice presentation days. Thankfully we did not run into any technical issues on competition day!”

“It allowed me to put valuable life skills to the test such as presenting to a board, thinking on my feet, and working under pressure,” explains Park. “It really pushed me to reach for skills taught throughout my entire degree.”

Zina Park

“Our coaches simulated a true competition day on three separate occasions where we were given past ICBC cases to crack in the allotted time and present our solution,” notes Park. “The support received from our coaches, Mary Ann, Adrian and Josh, was astounding. They did everything they could to make this competition a good experience – moral support, coaching, providing access to resources. They always made me feel valued, and never put pressure on our outcome.”

“They (Park and Berlinski) improved each time and demonstrated their best performance during the final weekend,” notes coach Widmann. “Both are calm and collected public speakers which really impressed the judges. They’ve made us as coaches, and Okanagan College as a whole, so proud.”

Okanagan College teams are regular participants in the ICBC finals, ending up competing with teams from much larger business schools from across Canada and around the world. Berlinski and Park were bested in the accounting competition by a team from the University of Regina (second place), and from Concordia University (first).

“Business case competitions provide our students with a chance to use their acquired knowledge and skills, polish them, and put them to the test against students from other institutions,” notes William Gillett, Dean of the Okanagan College School of Business. “Annually, we get an opportunity to see our students apply the business skills and knowledge they’ve attained and provide testimony to the quality of our programs and professors. Having to do it in a virtual format this year has thrown another challenge at our students, which they have surmounted.”

”We’re incredibly proud of all of our student teams and the faculty who taught and supported them.”



Tags: Okanagan School of Business, Bachelor of Business Administration, Inside OC

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