On November 29, over 160 students from 14 Ottawa-area high schools gathered at Carleton University for the 2nd annual Sprott Secondary School Business Challenge (SSSBC). This was a day packed with many activities such as trivia rounds and campus tours, with the main event being a case competition. Students were paired up to crack a business case and present their solutions to real-life examples of problems businesses face today. A tie-breaker determined the winners, John Costa and Heng Jia Zhang from Earl of March Secondary School.
The case competition was led by undergraduate business students who have represented the Sprott School at interuniversity case competitions through their involvement in Sprott DECA, JDCC Sprott, and Sprott Competes. These Sprott students volunteered to visit each of the 14 high schools in early November and delivered case cracking workshops to help students prepare for the competition. The high school students noted that through the workshops, they improved their confidence, creativity, communication, and critical thinking skills.
SSSBC was created in an effort to ease the transition between high school and university for incoming students and to foster interest in pursuing a business education at the post-secondary level. This environment where students are teaching students allows high school students to learn about the university experience firsthand from peers whom they are more likely to trust.
“This day is all about creating a bond between local high schools and Sprott, and giving back to the Ottawa community,” said Rhonda Kelly, Undergraduate Program Development and Outreach Coordinator. “This is the second year of the competition, with more than double the growth – we went from only six schools participating last year, to 14 this year.
The SSSBC competition is important because it gets high school students thinking critically about business, whether or not they choose to attend Sprott. Throughout the day, students exercised their social, presentation, and networking skills. On top of this, our students at Sprott who took on the role of Sprott Outreach Representatives gained many valuable leadership and organizational skills. Overall, the day was filled with many teachable moments and opportunities to give back.”
Megan Suitor, a student in Sprott’s Bachelor of International Business program and President of Sprott DECA, was one of the Sprott student outreach representatives making sure the event ran smoothly.
“I was a part of DECA when I was in high school, so I was able to relate to the students and see myself in their shoes. Everyone had a lot of fun, and all of the students were professional and took the opportunity seriously. It was a very rewarding experience.”
The Sprott School of Business has been working towards building meaningful partnerships with local high schools. In addition to SSSBC, Sprott has also provided workshops on teaching with business cases to high school teachers during professional development days for the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board and the Ottawa Catholic School Board.
In October, the Sprott School of Business and Longfields-Davidson Heights Secondary School were awarded a Global Best Award in the category of Partnerships Which Build Learning Communities from the International Partnership Network. Longfields-Davidson Heights was the first school to take part in the business challenge during its pilot phase in the spring of 2017.
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