Students Fuse Business, Engineering at Case Competition in Canada

Four AUC undergraduate students competed in the Engineering and Commerce Case Competition
Four AUC undergraduate students competed in the Engineering and Commerce Case Competition

A team of AUC undergraduate students won fifth place at the student-run Engineering and Commerce Case Competition (ECCC) recently held at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.

The AUC team is made up of Assem Abdelhamid, mechanical engineering major; Norhan Mostafa, electronics and communications engineering major; Yomna Gaafar, business administration major; and Yara Ashraf Mohamed, business administration and accounting major and a recipient of the Hisham Ezz Al Arab Scholarship.

Engineering, Business Solutions for Real-World Cases

During the three-day competition, the AUC students competed as one of 12 teams taking part in the competition, working on developing feasible engineering and business solutions for long and complex real-world cases. “ECCC serves as a true interdisciplinary experience for our students,” said Neveen Ahmed, assistant professor in the Department of Management who served as faculty adviser and traveled with the team to Canada. “The learning curve is the most important and most enjoyable outcome of the ECCC journey.”

The competition had three divisions made of four schools, where each academic institution had a team made up of two engineering students and two business students. The teams were presented with three cases and given enough preparation time to present their resolution. A panel of judges evaluated the teams’ performance based on their case analysis and feasibility of their engineering and business solutions. The team with the highest score from each division competed in a final presentation round.

For the AUC team, the biggest challenge at ECCC was learning how to develop and implement business ideas from scratch. “Grasping innovative ideas, researching the Canadian market and finances in only six hours was a tough challenge,” explained Abdelhamid. “We had to think about numbers, solve equations and critically evaluate if our plan met consumer demands.”

Gaafar echoed the same sentiment. “I call ECCC a journey because I experienced challenges that needed to be faced with wisdom,” she said. “I had to understand the engineering innovative solutions properly in order to set a marketing strategy, build a brand identity, penetrate the market, generate profits and grab good market share.”

Exposure, Experience and Setting a Standard

For the AUC students, this multicultural competition represented an opportunity to hone their problem-solving and public speaking skills, as well as their ability to work collaboratively as part of a team. Solving complex cases also enabled them to utilize and develop their interdisciplinary skills.

For Mohamed, participating in ECCC was a rewarding experience. “As a business student, competitions help me apply the theoretical concepts taught in courses and develop my conceptual and analytical skills,” she said. “It should be a must for every student to engage in at least one contest throughout their four years of study.”

AUC’s School of Sciences and Engineering and the School of Business were actively involved in the selection, training and partial funding of the contest. The students were also partially funded by the Office of Undergraduate Research. “We practiced mocking cases for six consecutive hours,” said Gaafar. “We had to study the Canadian market and consumerism, since the cases had to be tailored to the Canadian market in terms of demographics, geography, lifestyle, innovative trends and environmental actions.”

The outcome from participating in a competition doesn’t necessarily have to be winning first place. For Gaafar, it’s also about setting a benchmark. “We set a new benchmark that no future AUC team should go below us,” she said. “This achievement means that we proudly represented AUC and Egypt internationally.”