Wednesday, 02 December 2015 11:56

Native of Schuler participates in unique business competition

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Medicine Hat College business students including Schuler's Ashley Hermann (third from the right) and Colton Eremenko from Acadia Valley were on a team which placed fourth in the Cor Van Raay agriculture business competition in November. Medicine Hat College business students including Schuler's Ashley Hermann (third from the right) and Colton Eremenko from Acadia Valley were on a team which placed fourth in the Cor Van Raay agriculture business competition in November. Photo contributed

A popular type of post secondary business competition has come to southern Alberta, only with a special agricultural twist.


Two Medicine Hat College business students originally from southeast Alberta got the opportunity to participate in the inaugural  Cor Van Raay Agribusiness Case Competition Nov. 6-8. Colton Eremenko from Acadia Valley and Ashley Herrmann from Schuler joined Mike Kraemer and Michelle Edwards as one of the teams which competed. They eventually finished a respectable fourth out of 10 teams. The remainder of the teams were from the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College.
According to a news release, the competition was a student-directed initiative... and is designed for students to expand their knowledge in the areas of agriculture and business on a global scale, all the while introducing students to key players in the agribusiness sector.
“Southern Alberta is an ideal location for this competition,” says Dr. Danny LeRoy, agricultural economist and coordinator of the agricultural studies program at the University of Lethbridge. “Agribusiness is of local and global importance, encompassing a wide range of activities that are ultimately aimed at meeting the needs for food, feed, fibre and fuel. From farm gate to consumer, entrepreneurs are continuously responding to an ever-changing, consumer-driven marketplace.”
Herrmann who is a Schuler native, is in her third year degree program in Medicine Hat. She is an executive member of the Medicine Hat College chapter of the international Enactus organization has a vast knowledge of the agriculture sector. Having grown up on a farm, Herrmann also has experience as a longtime member and assistant with southeast 4-H.
She says the competition was a great experience. After a networking evening Nov. 16, they got down to business Saturday being sequestered in small rooms. They were given their cases at 10 a.m. and were given four hours to solve their case.
"We were given a working scenario of a farm," Herrmann explains, "We had to identify the strengths, weaknesses and give an analysis of the business. We had to solve its problem, pick a strategy for over a five-year period to (make it viable and thriving).
Herrmann says they had to follow the computer program with its data and put their solution on a USB stick after the four hours were up. This USB stick was given to the judges to analyze themselves and then the teams were then given an hour to practise making a presentation to the judges.
"It was pretty rushed," Herrmann states. "But, once we had the scenarios it was all about how we were going to present it. It was less than we wanted, the good thing was that we all had farming backgrounds."
Herrmann says they worked well together and all had worked in group projects before so they were able to effectively collaborate.
"I learned and gained experience with the team (concept): you learn to let everyone have an opportunity to express their idea and then build upon those ideas," explains Herrmann.
She hopes to compete in more "case" competitions down the road. She says Van Raay is well known and regarded in southern Alberta and it was a proud moment to be a part of the inaugural competition bearing his name.
"People see value in the competition," explains Herrmann of Van Raay's notoriety.
Herrmann eventually wants to get into law school following in her aunt's footsteps and her practice in Medicine Hat.  "To be able to take it in was quite exciting."

Read 4030 times Last modified on Wednesday, 02 December 2015 12:04
Ryan Dahlman

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