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The Bob Shaw Case Competition Showcases MBA Student Insights

Date Published: March 9, 2019

Pictured: Sobey School Dean Harjeet Bhabra, Kavita Khanna, Sagar Matcha, Samantha Thomas, Healthy Minds Cooperative Executive Director Lynn Yetman, Christophe Dupuy, and Rob Shaw.


At Sobey School, the end-of-first year Bob Shaw Case Competition is a rite of passage for MBA students.

This year, with the Shaw family increasing the value of the prizes significantly, in the grand tradition of reality shows, the school threw in a few twists.

The case that students grappled with was not a typical business case. Instead, the featured organization was the Healthy Minds Cooperative (HMC), a not-for-profit co-operative venture that works to raise awareness and understanding of mental health issues, and supports individuals and families in promoting mental well-being.

Winning Team

The winning team of Christophe Dupuy, Samantha Thomas, Kavita Khanna and Sagar Matcha shared the $7000 top prize for their suggestions, which included a three-pronged strategy to build their profile, leverage existing and new partnerships, and generate needed funds through events and merchandise sales.

On Friday March 8, 2019, Sobey School of Business students received their first glimpse of the case, and received a group briefing on the case, as well as one-on-one meetings with HMC Executive Director Lynn Yetman. Then, the eight four-person teams worked to develop innovative, sustainable solutions for the organization, and presented them to judging panels the next afternoon.

The three teams that advanced to the finals presented their recommendations to HMC Executive Director Lynn Yetman and board member Lee Shane, along with Starr Cunningham, President & CEO of the Mental Health Association of Nova Scotia and Dr. Daphne Rixon, Executive Director of the Centre of Excellence in Accounting and Reporting for Cooperatives.

Passion was apparent

“We were very excited to work with the students of the Sobey School of Business to have them present new, sustainable options for our non-profit organization,” commented Lynn Yetman, Executive Director, Healthy Minds Cooperative. “The students were great to work with; their passion for - and understanding of - the need for accessible mental health services was very apparent.  From the resulting process, we have gathered several ideas that we will further explore for our organization.

“We thought this case was a very good choice for the competition because it gave students more exposure to the cooperative business model and focused on a very important societal issue,” noted MBA Academic Director, Dr. Margaret McKee. “As a signatory to the United Nation’s Principles for Management Education, we look for ways to integrate the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals into program activities. Goal #3 is Good Health and Well-Being and so with this case gave our students the chance to research this issue, and to strategically apply their knowledge to help a community organization.”

The second place team comprised Christoph Voegele, Shiva Arumugam, Meghan Brodmann, and Rebecca Skinner. Third place was held by the team of Darryl Lever, Moira Pellerine, Jessica Severeyns and Karthik Nagarajan.

The case was written by Drs. Daphne Rixon, Leslie Brown and Heidi Weigand, and MBA student Soheil Ahmadi.

Representing the Shaw family, Rob and Sherry Shaw attended the awarding of prizes at the end of the day. Said Rob, “My father was a huge supporter of Saint Mary’s. He always liked debating, and since the university didn’t have a debating team at the time, a case competition, with the component of defending a position, is the kind of activity he could get behind. That’s why we decided to put his name on this competition, and put enough money behind it to really reward high-achieving students.”

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