Last week I was honoured to represent professional industry experts as a judge in the oldest and most prestigious undergraduate business case competition, the Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (I.C.B.C.) hosted by Queen’s University School of Business. This competition has become a global forum for the brightest minds from the top business schools across North America, Asia and Europe and provides the opportunity for students to demonstrate their analytical and presentation skills in front of judges, faculty and fellow students.
The quality of the presentations was exceptional, as was the dialogue with the students afterward. For me, this was the most personally fulfilling aspect – speaking with the participants in an informal setting about their vision and personal perspectives.
During the participants’ reception after the competition, I was seated at a table with 10 young business undergrads, all who happened to be women. They were engaging and interesting and I was struck by their energy and optimism. I found myself reflecting on how rarely we give our young business minds credit for their sense of the pulse of today’s global market realities. The students had a refreshing perspective on the complexities of tomorrow’s business environment, yet I couldn’t help thinking that the business community under-values the diversity of youth and their understanding of emerging markets and their role in influencing them. Clearly, despite all my years of experience, I was the true beneficiary of this free-wheeling, informal discussion. I couldn’t have been seated at a better table.
This whole experience opened my eyes in so many ways. I left Kingston feeling as I had seen the future through the eyes of the next generation of leaders. They painted a picture of tomorrow that is bright, full of potential and will rest in good hands. It’s refreshing to see that the foundation for future corporate excellence is strong and reliable.
I hope all of the participants left the competition with a sense of accomplishment and confidence in the value they provide in shaping the future. I know I did. And I hope I’m invited back again next year . . . I still have so much to learn.