High achievers! This term is usually overused. I see high achievement as a mindset rather than only quantifiable results attributed to an individual or a group. In mid-March 2018, I had the chance to witness it by seeing a lot of presentations done by students of the John Molson School of Business. The even was organized by the Project Management Institute (PMI)

The PMI is an international organization which promotes best practices around the topic of project management. Courses, seminars, trainings, exam preparations, career events are amongst the numerous activities and services provided by the PMI.

PMI has a local presence in several cities and countries. Those local branches are called “chapters”. Montreal is one of the biggest chapter in the world. There are about 4,600 members[1] in Montreal! Moreover, the PMI Montreal Chapter won the price of the best chapter of the year WORLDWIDE in 2016!

Needless to say, Montreal is a huge reference in terms of how to run a chapter.

PMI case competition at the John Molson School of Business

One great event that this chapter organized occurred on the 10th of March. For the 4th edition, a PMI case competition was organized in collaboration with the John Molson School of Business (the business part of Concordia University).

The principle of the competition is simple: 16 teams of 4 students receive a case study one day before the presentation. Those teams have to analyse the case, suggest different alternatives to resolve it, choose a recommendation and present everything to the judges.

Prior to that day, all the teams had been mentored by a senior PMI member regarding how to present their case. To select the winning teams, 16 judges had been called upon by the PMI. In order to be a judge, one needed to have at least one PMI-delivered certification (such as the PMP). The 16 judges were divided in 4 groups of 4, each group sitting in its own amphitheatre.

In each amphitheatre, 4 teams appeared to present their case. At the end of the 4 presentations, the judges had to decide which team, according to them, presented the solutions the best way.

My experience being a business case judge for the first time

I had the chance to be a judge in the competition.

It was a mind-blowing experience as I was impressed by how versatile the students were. Most of the participating students already have the ingredients needed to go far in their future careers: they are assertive, speak clearly, can handle objections and synthesize complex subjects in a structured way.

A few students were not even doing a business major (engineering for example) and some others were even in their foundation year! After the competition winner was announced, a lot of students were asking for feedback on how they did and what they could improve. This is the exact kind of attitude to have if one wants to build a career. Everyone needs feedback and improvement regardless of the experience level, and they understand that very early.

The next generation of high achievers is there

No matter which team won at the end, it was a great experience for the students, the judges and the amazing organizers! I witness a glimpse of the next generation of high achievers in the business world.

As I only finished school a bit more than 10 years ago, I still have fresh memories of the times during which I had to make presentation as a student.

I was not scared, but I was not great at structuring my ideas.

The next generation of high achievers seem to be fearless, more aware of the importance of developing soft skills and more creative than in my time.


[1] https://www.pmimontreal.org/en/pmi-montreal

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