After almost being derailed by an illegal travel ban, Capilano University students out-pitched, out-sold and outdid all but one of their competitors in a North American marketing competition.
CapU’s case competition team earned second place out of approximately 150 universities and colleges at the American Marketing Association competition in New Orleans, La.
“Beyond ecstatic,” said instructor Andrea Eby shortly after her plane landed at YVR.
First prize went to Texas State University, which boasts a student population of 38,808 – making it approximately five times the size of CapU.
“You just assume that they’re going to be better than you because they’re well-known schools, but I guess all the hard work really shows at the end,” stated team leader Pauntehah Poursaba in a press release.
Competing against storied institutions including Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Nevada, the CapU squad made their case for attracting consumers between the ages of 18 and 35 to eBay.
The students “totally dialed it up,” according to Eby.
The silver finish was all the more impressive given that it was only CapU’s second year competing in the 39th annual marketing bonanza, according to Eby.
The team’s entrance was initially jeopardized when U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning immigrants from seven nations, effectively barring Iraqi-Canadian citizen Hamzah Elhassani.
Elhassani, described by CapU marketing instructor as “my rock star sales presenter,” was initially uncertain about making the trip.
“We should be welcoming each other … rather than discriminating,” he said prior to the trip.
After the ban was struck down as unconstitutional, Elhassani ended up breezing through the border, according to Eby. Once in New Orleans he picked up 10th place in the AMA’s TEKSystems Outbound Sales Competition, which tests a student’s ability to secure a face-to-face meeting with a client in three phone calls.
However, the biggest honour was bestowed on Eby, who was named faculty adviser of the year.
“It’s the honour of my life,” she said.
The showing puts CapU’s marketing department “on the map,” according to Eby.
The AMA function should help students climb the ladder to industry, according to Eby.
CapU’s case competition team includes: Poursaba, Chris Critchley, Tom Kramer, Adam Wong, Robert Dromey, Phoebe Chung and Vermie Pacson.
The Capilano University Marketing Association was formed in 2008. The group became a collegiate chapter of the AMA in 2014.