Bow Valley College takes first place at the 2024 HRC West Case Competition

After weeks of hard work and preparation, a Bow Valley College team is celebrating their win at the 2024 HRC West Case Competition.

The two-day competition, hosted by Chartered Professionals in Human Resources of Alberta (CPHR Alberta) and CPHR B.C. & Yukon, gives students a one-of-a-kind chance to put what they've learned in the classroom to the test by simulating real-life human resources (HR) situations.     

The college team, led by instructor Svetlana Miftahov-Rapoport, came in first place at the event at Camosun College in Victoria, B.C. on March 1 and 2.

We spoke to Svetlana and her team to learn more about their experience, how they prepared for the competition, and what the victory meant to them.

Q: What was the business case that the winning team worked on? And who were the team members?

Svetlana: The business case was on the topic of Truth and Reconciliation. The students had three hours to analyze the case and build a strategy for an organization to implement. Our student team members were Hazelle Astorga, Maria Sotomayor Llamas, Lance Clark, and Monica Pacheco Vazquez.

Q: What was this experience like overall, including preparing for the event and taking part in it?

Svetlana: It took nine weeks to prepare. Every week, we had a three-hour in-person practice and endless hours strategizing, re-strategizing, and working on more cases. I had two goals for the nine-week practice as a coach: build a trusting and collaborative team and master case analysis and HR strategy development. We accomplished both. Results speak louder than words!

During the competition, the teams had three hours to analyze the case provided to them, build their strategic solution, and present it to the panel of judges, who are senior HR professionals. They went into the competition strong and came out even stronger.

Q: How did the team feel?

Hazelle: Our team's whole HRC West Case competition journey was a rollercoaster of emotions. We dedicated hours to strategizing and practicing our presentation, fostering teamwork, and camaraderie. And when the big day finally arrived, the nerves were sky-high, but so was our excitement. Winning was like the cherry on top of this incredible and exhilarating experience—we couldn't have asked for a better outcome! Knowing that our hard work paid off and that our ideas stood out among all the other teams was just surreal. It's definitely a moment we'll never forget!

Maria: The experience was challenging but worth every second! I was overwhelmed, I felt so much joy and happiness.

Lance: The practices every week are exhausting. Preparation takes a toll, and you question your every ability. Then you get to the competition, walk into that room and it all of a sudden feels calm. Winning was the validation of taking a risk two years ago and returning to school. Based on the screams, smiles, and tears, I know the entire team felt that way.

Monica: This experience was incredibly rewarding, from the adrenaline rush of the challenging learning to the emotional challenges along the way. After all, the solid support from my team and coach kept me motivated and focused. Winning the competition was euphoric! It validated our hard work, dedication, and collaborative efforts, and I am proud and grateful for our college.

Svetlana: The team was very confident in their solution and presentation, but winning was the official acknowledgment of their hard work, professionalism, and talent. This meant a lot to them (and me). There were a lot of hugs, tears, and excitement!

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Svetlana: Trust! Learning attitude! Hard work! This is the best description of this talented HR quartet, and this is what brought us to first place in the HRC West Case Competition.

It was an incredible honour to coach this wonderful team. I cannot be prouder of their growth and achievements. Trust among team members fostered authentic collaboration; the unwavering learning attitude cultivated a continuous thirst for knowledge; relentless hard work turned hurdles into steppingstones and ultimately led us to this triumph.

I am thankful that they could trust me and each other and keep their unwavering spirit and authenticity. I am their number one fan and cannot wait to see how they will make the world of HR an even better place.

We also want to give a big shout-out to all the colleagues (faculty and staff), professional network, friends and family who supported, inspired, and believed in us! Thank you to CPHR BC & Yukon, CPHR Alberta, and Camosun College for organizing and hosting this one-of-a-kind learning experience for future HR professionals.

Congratulations again to the amazing team for representing Bow Valley College so well and taking home the victory!

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