University of Regina business students erupted in cheers and applause last night upon learning the Hill JDC West team placed first for School of the Year at JDC West – the largest undergraduate business competition in Western Canada. This first place finish is in keeping with the Hill School’s impressive record at the competition, which was hosted this past weekend at the Paul J. Hill School of Business and the University of Regina.
Competing on their home turf, the 2020 University of Regina Hill team also placed first in the categories of Entrepreneurship, Athletics, Participation, and Charitable Volunteer Hours with 5,036 hours volunteered. The team also placed second in Debate and Social, and third in Business Technology Management, Human Resources, Not-for-Profit, and Skit Performance.
“It was such a surreal experience to be able to compete at home at such a well-run competition,” says Georgia Iannone, Hill JDC West Co-Captain, and student in Marketing.
In addition to Iannone, the 2020 Hill team was led by Co-Captain Kyle Hodge (student in Marketing) and Faculty Coach Randy Linton (Instructor in Hill School).
“Kyle and I are so proud of the 52-member team, and everything we’ve accomplished this year,” says Iannone. “We couldn’t have done it without each and every individual on this team, as well as all of our coaches and sponsors. We are so thankful and proud to be part of the Hill School of Business.”
The Hill JDC West team has now placed in the top three as School of the Year 12 times – more than any other school.
“Congratulations to all of the student competitors and coaches on the Hill JDC West team, who have carried on the Hill legacy of excellence at this year’s competition,” says Dr. Gina Grandy, Dean of the Hill and Levene Schools of Business. “I am so proud of our students for maintaining the Hill School’s reputation as a top business school in Western Canada.”
Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year with the theme “Growing Forward,” the JDC West competition saw student teams from 12 of the leading universities across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba compete in academics, athletics, debate, and a social competition.
In this year’s Academics competition, teams had three hours to analyze and create a recommendation to a business case. Afterwards, they were given 20 minutes to present their recommendation to a panel of industry judges, followed by a 5-minute Q & A.
For the Athletics component, teams competed at Boccer, a sport that combines aspects of indoor soccer and basketball, as well as Circle Rules football. Other competitions included debate presentations and a skit night, which featured a musical performance by each school.
This year’s organizing committee was comprised of 22 Hill School alumni and seven Hill students.
“It really takes a small village to put this on,” says Mason Gardiner BBA’13, Co-Chair of JDC West. “It’s been thousands of volunteer hours for the organizing committee, but I think if you asked any one of them, they’d say it was worth it to see the delegates having an amazing life-changing experience.”
Every year the competition makes a significant economic impact on the host city, and this year was no exception. JDC West’s operating budget of $650,000 was spent entirely in Saskatchewan, with JDC West drawing approximately 1,300 people to the U of R, including volunteers, sponsors, former competitors, and approximately 650 students.
With half of the competition’s budget coming from corporate sponsorships, Gardiner says he learned a lot about budgeting and fundraising.
“The Regina community and province stepped up,” says Gardiner, adding that this event would not have happened without their generous support.
Many Hill students who have competed at JDC West have gone on to lead successful business careers in Saskatchewan and beyond.
“I would not be who I am today without JDC West,” says Emily McNair BBA’11, who competed on the Hill team in 2011. “It was a completely definitive moment for me.”
Prior to competing, McNair says she was extremely introverted, lacked confidence, and dreaded public speaking. Today, she is a Sessional Instructor at the Hill School of Business and Manager for the Centre for Management Development in the Faculty of Business Administration at the University of Regina.
“JDC West gives students real-life experience to take into the working world, so they don’t necessarily start from scratch when they get their first positions,” says McNair.
Regina previously hosted JDC West in 2014, making this the second time the University has hosted this prestigious competition.
“At the Hill School, we are incredibly grateful for and proud of the leadership demonstrated by both the competition organizing committee, as well as the Hill student competitors,” says Dr. Grandy. “I want to thank the JDC West 2020 Organizing Committee Co-Chairs, Cari-Lynn Schoettler BBA’17 and Mason Gardiner, and their team comprised of Hill students and alumni, for all of their work in putting together what was an incredible weekend of events.”
The 2021 edition of JDC West will be held at the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg next January.