Student Success: How Goodman Student Leaders Thrived in Online Environments

In a time of Zoom fatigue, Goodman's student leaders were able to successfully move their clubs and competition teams online this year and proved that their passion for engagement outside of the classroom can transfer from the boardrooms at Brock to online platforms, without missing a beat.

International competition success from home

The closure of the Canada-US land border didn't keep Goodman's team from defending their title at the 2021 World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara International Case Competition.

The team, comprised of Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) students Sukhwinder Gill and Bill Huynh, BBA double degree student Ashley Harold, Accounting student Angelo Pirrera, and faculty advisers Ken Walker and Mark Parker, leaned into the online environment to find success.

The case was timely, focusing on how the operations of the World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara were changing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how the programming needs of the association's members had also changed.

For Gill, who acted as the team captain and participated in the 2020 competition, this win was just as special as the in-person event the previous year.

"Goodman is able to uphold their reputation as a global business school and is also able to show the rest of the world that our students are ready to make major contributions in the business world," he said.

The team competed Friday, March 19 against students from Canisius College, Daemen College, University of Buffalo and Niagara College. This was the third annual competition and Goodman has taken home the first-place trophy each year.

The advisers were impressed with the level of poise and polish the team possessed when presenting.

"Their achievement reflected their ability to work well together and draw upon each other's individual strengths and abilities," Parker said. "The confidence in which they answered challenging questions and how well prepared they were for such questions was impressive."

This year's virtual format provided more opportunities for the team to prepare. Without having to meet on site like in previous years, it was easier to get everyone together for mock cases and to solicit feedback from advisers and Goodman professors, Walker said.

"Ultimately, it all came down to the team's ability to adapt to this new form of virtual delivery and their commitment to utilizing their own and others' suggestions about best practices," he said.

MBA Games online competition yields top academic finish

Canada's largest graduate case competition, the MBA Games, also moved online this year and was hosted virtually by Université Laval in January.

In the online environment, the traditional case competition format was changed, which allowed teams two months to prepare for the competition. The additional time helped Goodman's MBA Games team earn its best academic finish ever, placing second out of 16 business schools competing.

The academic team was led by Anna Cherdakova and Manjit Hari as captain and vice-captain, respectively. Other student members included Murtaza Lokhandwala, Vandhana Parthasarathy, Aravinth Ramalingam, Anushri Sachdeva, Syed Zarif Samdani, and Jason Wagner.

The academic team was split in half, with four working on each case. The weekend of the competition, the team presented their recommendations and applied the judge's feedback in a live presentation.

For Cherdakova, their MBA classes gave the team the theoretical knowledge they needed, and the extra time helped to create overarching strategies to approach the case problems. The teams also included first- and second-year graduate students, which allowed for mentorship for the students that will provide leadership to next year's team.

"I'm really proud of all our team members. Their success has really raised the bar for the future," Cherdakova said. "It really helped having experienced members on the team in the virtual environment, and the first-year students now have foundation to build on this success next year."

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