In March four classes of Windermere Business students split into 31 teams and competed to develop business strategies to showcase their secondary school internationally.
In the development of their business strategies, students reviewed target markets, demographics and the demands of international student parents as they sought to formulate a comprehensive marketing plan that would put their school top of mind among parents in China, India, South Korea, Vietnam and Japan.
The top teams were selected by Windermere business teacher Sylvia Tam. The finalists then presented their case study to an expert panel of judges including District Principal for International Education Dave Derpak, Windermere Principal Rick Mesich and a representative from the Royal Bank.
The winning team was composed of Grade 11 students. Tam says the students blew her away.
"They were less experienced, but their sheer professionalism was incredible," she says. "They memorized everything, had substantial evidence to back up their strategy and displayed a really high-level presentation style."
Tam says all of the student finalists "knocked the socks off of the judges". From a teaching perspective, she says the case studies were particularly valuable because they allowed students to apply skills learned in multi-disciplinary subjects including math, English and social studies.
Judge and Windermere principal Rick Mesich said he was particularly impressed by the high caliber of work.
"I was taken aback with regards to the professionalism and the passion. You often see kids presenting, but there is a real difference between them doing it because they 'have to' vs. 'having an emotional connection to the topic'," he said.
Mesich says the winning team's presentation and marketing ideas will be used at student fairs around the world by the VSB International Studies program.