Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Call for Undergraduate Teams: David Sparling Business Case Competition at CAES

Deadline: Midnight (PST), April 13, 2017
The CAES is pleased to announce the new David Sparling Business Case Competition This competition is a great opportunity to showcase the next generation of business leaders in the agri-food industry. Teams will be required to work through a complex, real-world challenge related to sustainability in the agri-food value chain, develop a creative, practical solution and present their findings and recommendations to a panel of judges made up of industry executives and academics.

The competition itself is only one aspect of the entire experience. Students will develop their ability to apply what they have learned in the classroom to find practical solutions to real-world business problems. Students will also develop their analytical, problem-solving, critical and strategic thinking, team work, and presentation skills that employers are looking for. Participants will also have the opportunity to network with collaborating organizations, faculty and fellow students. This competition is dedicated to the memory of David Sparling. LEARN MORE


Winning and runner-up teams will receive cash prizes of $3,500 and $2,000, respectively, and be recognized during the CAES awards banquet on evening of June 19, 2017.

Dates and Times

  • By April 13
    Register for the Competition
  • By April 25
    Register for the Conference
  • By April 25
    Become CAES Student Member
  • June 18, 4:30-6:30 pm
    Team Check-In
  • June 19, 3:00-6:00 pm
    Case Competition
  • June 19, 7:00-9:00 pm
    CAES Awards Banquet

Eligibility and Registration

This competition is for undergraduate students (from first to final year) enrolled in Agribusiness, Agricultural Economics, and/or Business programs. Up to 6 teams will be accepted during the registration period, on a first-come first-serve basis. Student teams will be formed at their respective universities. Each team will consist of 3 students and have an academic coach. The coach will be responsible for the registration and will be the primary contact for communications.

To register your team, please submit the following information to Nicoleta Uzea, McGill University (
  1. Name and email address of team coach
  2. Name of University affiliation
  3. Name of team members
Note that a coach may initially register a team without naming student members. Student names may be specified at a later date, but not later than April 13th.

Accepted students and their coach need to be members of the CAES and register for the conference by no later than April 25th.

Competition Rules

The team and their coach need to check-in with the competition organizer on June 18th at 4:30 pm. The business case and detailed competition rules will be provided. Teams need to prepare a PowerPoint presentation with their solution to the case. On June 19th, each team will present their analysis in front of the judges for 20 mins, followed by 10 mins of Q&A.

Teams will be required to present in English. Presentations will be judged based on criteria such as:
  1. Appreciation of the problem and its strategic implications
  2. Appropriateness and applicability of the "solution" to the problem
  3. Creativity and originality of solution
  4. Quality and professionalism of presentation
  5. Effectiveness of responses to judges' questions

Questions and Expressions of Interest

Please direct questions and submit expressions of interest to Nicoleta Uzea, McGill University (

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