As part of the 2015 B.C. Tourism Industry Conference, the 9th Annual LinkBC Student Case Competition saw 64 students from 13 different institutions demonstrating their business skills to top industry professionals.
Winning top prize in the Tourism Marketing Diploma category was the Vancouver Community College hospitality management diploma team, consisting of Wing Chen, Mirko Gerstner, Monika Paripovic, and Antonio Rodrigues.
Two team members share about their experience in the competition:
Monika Paripovic, second-year student, hospitality management diploma program
“At the scholarship ceremony last year, I learned about how the Case Competition was such a great opportunity, which it indeed proved to be. I learned it would give me exposure and the opportunity to present in front of a panel of executives from the very industry I'm learning about and training to work in.
In the competition we were presented a case and received five hours to research a company, figure out a solution, create a PowerPoint presentation and pitch our idea to a panel of executives. The case we were presented with was that the Ramada Limited Hotels valet service was operating at a loss. They wanted to hear our ideas on how we could solve this.
It was difficult in the sense that time was limited, but we knew we had to go into detail in order to stand out and win. At one point, I was on hold with ICBC for half an hour trying to figure out how much insurance would cost to implement our first idea. Unfortunately, we couldn't receive a quote or even a ballpark number to use, so halfway through the competition we decided to start over. This, of course, took a huge chunk of time out of our timeline, but we knew we needed good financials and analytics to win. So we went back to a drawing board and came up with a simpler idea that was more realistic.
I spoke with one of the judges later and asked for feedback on our presentation. The judge said it was our analytics which set us apart and allowed for us to win. We had real examples and real numbers which is what they wanted to see. We were also able to stay at the hotel the night before. This helped because we were able to give real examples that would increase customer retention.
From the competition, I was able to take away many things, such as what is necessary to work on a very tight deadline, and how to work efficiently with a group of individuals. We each had our strengths and weaknesses but focused on bringing our strengths to the table. In the end, we formed a well-rounded group and I’m really proud of our performance.”
Mirko Gerstner, second-year student, hospitality management diploma program
“I felt compelled by the idea of representing my school in a BC case competition. Also I felt that the competition offered a great deal of learning experience and fun!
To come up with a solution and to compile a presentation in just five hours felt daunting at first, but once we had a breakthrough in our research and a viable solution, the competition felt exiting and empowering.
We had a concise and simple solution to Ramada Hotels problem. Our recommendation did not incorporate unnecessary changes to the hotel’s everyday operation nor did it incur high costs—in fact, it saved them money. I also think our straightforward and joyful delivery of our proposed solution gave us a leading edge over the competing teams.
Through this competition, I learned that you should always believe in yourself, no matter the situation. I also learned that, despite different personalities and work styles, we had the same goal, which led us to function extremely well as a group. It turned out that differences can be a strength and extremely helpful. Every one of us contributed in our own special way.”
VCC’s two-year diploma in Hospitality Management produces professionally trained and educated personnel for B.C.’s world-famous hospitality industry. Learn more about hospitality management programs at VCC.