Bow Valley College team takes a top spot in HRC West Competition
If you ask the team of Business Administration Diploma program students representing Bow Valley College at the HRC West Case Competition what it felt like to place fourth out of sixteen teams, their coach might play you a video that will make you feel like you were there. It’s a little shaky and the record button was unknowingly pressed on, but the energy is clearly one of excitement, with joyful screams piercing through the audio.
“The tension started when we were waiting for the final four announcement,” said Jenica Montemayor, one of the four Bow Valley College students competing. “When they announced People Connect, everybody was screaming.”
Including second-year student Jenica, the College was represented by first-year student Hazell Astroga, and second-year students Maria Zakula and Vitoria Regina Valente Moreira. Under the careful and thorough guidance and coaching of Chiu School of Business faculty member Svetlana Miftahov Rapoport, these four formed People Connect. The team placed in the top four out of sixteen teams in the competition presented by Chartered Professionals in Human Resources of Alberta (CPHR Alberta). People Connect’s win in the competition extends the College’s personal track record after placing for the first time in 2022.
The four students each entered the competition for similar reasons: to see how far they could push themselves.
“I wanted to know how much I learned. I didn’t have HR experience like the others on the team. I wanted to see if I could really apply the lessons I learned in the classroom,” said Vitoria, who came to the College with a background in accounting. “It was amazing to find out that it really was quality time that I spent at Bow Valley,” said Vitoria. “That the College prepared me for the world, because that's what we were supposed to do: give real life solutions in the competition.”
While Hazell shared that she applied to compete due to her “quietly competitive” nature, she aligned with the rest of the team’s reflections of the competition. “Finishing this competition, I can go back and say, ‘yes, I can be under pressure, I can create solutions, I can work with a team, and I can do more.’”
An outsider looking out would be forgiven for assuming that the team had been working together for far longer than the eight weeks of training that led up to the competition, however, apart from sharing a few classes here and there in their College journeys, the competition was the first time they truly collaborated.
“When selecting students for this competition, one of my critical criteria was teamwork mentality,” shared team coach Svetlana. “I knew this would be a very intense process, and to succeed, we will have to be able to trust and support each other and work in synergy. Having mutual trust and respect, we could overcome any challenges.”
After meeting for eight weeks of team building and navigating various real-world HR, the team felt prepared for anything.
“On the day of the competition, we felt like professionals,” said Vitoria. “We felt like it was an elevated thing, because we were surrounded by all these professionals and you know, people in the area, and it really is an elevated experience from what we're used to doing in the classroom.”
This was the College’s first time hosting the competition. Alongside with extensive networking opportunities and connection building with industry and students from other participating institutions, the real-world experience of the competition is what makes HRC West a one-of-a-kind learning experience.
“It made me realize how special this HR program here at [Bow Valley College] is,” shared Maria. “And what great instructors we have. On the top, it's Svetlana, but only because we had the most work with her. But we also had the other instructors help and give us their knowledge and share their expertise.”
“The support that was given to us is really amazing and outstanding,” added Jenica.
As far as the time commitment and dedication required to succeed in the competition, none of the team said they would have made any other decision but to participate and they encourage anyone considering a case competition to take the leap.
“It was like having a fifth course,” shared Hazell. “But don't be afraid, because there is also rewarding the networks that you build and the friendships that you make all throughout those eight weeks, and during the competition. It's all going to be worth it.”
Congratulations to first place team Hunter College’s Harmony Accord, second place team Vancouver Island University’s HARMOUR, third place team Camosun College’s Case of the Mondays, and all of the teams who competed in this year’s competition.