Sprott hosts first high school student competition

One hundred high school students came to Carleton’s campus to compete in a citywide business case competition on Nov. 30.

Participants from five Ottawa high schools attended the event, which marked the first time the university’s Sprott School of Business has hosted it. Only the top students from each school were invited to compete on campus. Ahmed Hassan, a Grade 12 student at Longfields-Davidson Heights Secondary School, was one of them.

“My first couple times doing the case studies weren’t very good,” Hassan said. “When Carleton came to [our school],  they taught us how to do them properly.”

The event is part of a three-month long initiative that began in September where select Sprott students from Carleton have been attending the participating high schools and leading business-oriented workshops. Students are tasked with solving a business scenario with a logical and innovative solution.

“Case studies are really what you do in real life all the time, so it will help us a lot in the future,” Hassan said.

Olivia Harris, a fourth-year business student at Carleton and the main organizer of the event, said the competition went better than she could have hoped.

“I saw a significant improvement in the students from when we started in September,” she said. “They were professional and took it very seriously. You could tell that they actually tried to apply what we were teaching them.”

Harris said feedback from the students and their teachers has been overwhelmingly positive.

“A lot of the students don’t have the opportunity to do things like this,” she said. “I’m glad we could give them a taste of what business in a university setting is really like.”

Cathy Belanger, a business teacher at Longfields-Davidson Heights, said the entire three-month experience has been invaluable to her students.

“It allows students to see that they can do business in a practical way,” she said. “Hopefully they’ll come to university and realize that they should get involved in all kinds of ways.”

She said her students enjoyed the experience, and would like to do it again.

“Some of [the students] said it was the best field trip they did in all of high school,” Belanger said.

Two students from Longfields-Davidson Heights earned the top score in the competition, and took home a trophy that will be the school’s to keep until next year.

The competition will be held again next year.

Photo by Aaron Hemens