Associate News Editor
The University of Saskatchewan will host western Canada’s largest university business competition in Januray 2011.
Edwards School of Business students Stephanie Ulm and Matthew Bennett presented their bid to host 2011’s Jeux du Commerce West on Aug. 22 in Prince George, B.C., at the University of Northern British Columbia. After the University of Manitoba and Simon Fraser University dropped out of the bid competition, only the U of S and University of British Columbia remained.
“It was actually pretty crazy when we went to do our bid,” Ulm said. “Some of the questions were like, ”˜Can Saskatoon’s airport support us?’ It was like they didn’t know we had an airport.”
Bennett elaborated on the bid itself, saying, “We had $78,000 in sponsorship already going into the bid, which is more than any team has had in JDC West history in a bid.”
JDC West is primarily a case-oriented business competition. Students from the 10 competing teams read and resolve business cases in several areas of business. However, JDC West differs from most business competitions in that it also includes athletic, social and charity components.
Chillin’ for Charity is part of the charity aspect of JDC West and is also a national event. Last year the U of S raised $60,000, coming first in the country. “We blew every other school away,” said Ulm.
“The charity and the spirit components are such a big component of JDC West,” said Bennett, “and that’s why so many people fall in love with it.”
Of the total points allowed each team, 10 per cent are for participation. This encourages students to cheer on and associate with other teams and to behave courteously at the competition. These marks “make JDC West really interesting,” Ulm said, “and that keeps it really academic because you don’t have people goofing off during the day, they’re going and watching presentations.”
The academic atmosphere, Ulm and Bennett believe, is part of what draws prominent members of the business and political communities to judge the case readings that make up the academic portion of the competition.
“JDC West is just another thing that we can show the rest of Canada: ”˜Hey, look what’s going on in Saskatchewan.’ And it’s pretty special.”
“These judges are CEOs of companies, they’re VPs of companies, they’re politicians,” said Ulm.
Ulm and Bennett made the focal point of their bid package Saskatchewan as a whole, inviting participants to “experience Saskatchewan.”
“Going against the grain” was the theme Bennett and Ulm chose for the competition.
“We thought grain has to do with Saskatchewan, and our past, but we thought going against the grain ”“ well, we’re going against the norm in Saskatchewan,” said Bennett. “We’ve always been viewed as the province that, sometimes we’re growing, sometimes we’re shrinking, we’re never really being consistent. But this year we kind of took that box, threw it out the window and created a new box and we thought outside of it and we have an amazing thing going for us. And JDC West is just another thing that we can show the rest of Canada: ”˜Hey, look what’s going on in Saskatchewan.’ And it’s pretty special.”
The Edwards School of Business and Government of Saskatchewan were the biggest sponsors of the bid. Other contributors were the U of S, Tourism Saskatoon, the Edwards Business Students’ Society, the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union and St. Peter’s College at the U of S.
JDC West, an offshoot of Quebec’s popular undergraduate business competition Jeux du Commerce, began in 2006 at UBC. From B.C. to Manitoba there are 10 school that participate, bringing teams of approximately 50 students each. This means the U of S will play host to at least 600 students from across western Canada in 2011.
photo Robby Davis