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Acadia University Students Compete in J.D. Irving, Limited Case Competition



Wolfville: Each year for the last six years, Acadia University professor Paul Callaghan has challenged his second year business students with a JDI case competition. Students are given a real business problem and work in groups to present recommendations and solutions to JDI executives and recruiters.

JDI's partnership with Acadia is part of a larger program; over the past eight years, JDI has sponsored IT, Finance, Supply Chain, and Marketing case competitions. To date, over 3,800 talented students from Atlantic Canadian universities have participated. 

Callaghan says a benefit of case competitions is showcasing employment opportunity in Atlantic Canada.  "We have so much negative news about the challenges of business in this region but frankly we have a lot of world-class companies in Atlantic Canada," Callaghan said. "I like that case competitions open the eyes of students to career opportunities."

One of professor Callaghan's students who was up to the challenge: Andrew Healy. Healy is currently part of the team building ships for Canada as a Supply Chain Specialist at the Halifax Shipyard, but his introduction to the J.D Irving group of companies was as a business student in Callaghan's class.

JDI Supply Chain Vice President Jim Jordan took note of Healy's skill and potential. Upon graduation, Healy was welcomed to the team at JDI. 

When asked about his first two years working for JDI, Healy says the company is a great place for new grads to advance and grow.  "It's a culture that encourages young people to develop early-on in their careers," Healy said. "Even as new graduates, we're provided with a ton of opportunity to go out and work on big projects and make critical decisions ourselves." 

This year Healy is one of the judges at the Acadia case competition. Four teams of business students presented their analysis and recommendations. After deliberation, the judges chose the winning team. 

  Acadia Case Competition
Winning team presented with cash prize. 
L-R: Jonathan Bienko, Supply Chain Specialist, Halifax Shipyard; Jim Jordan, Vice President, Supply Chain, JDI; Paul Callaghan, Professor, Acadia University, Gillian Grant, student; Caroline Lauder, student; Sara Baxter, student, Mamie McGin, student; 
Andrew Healy, Supply Chain Specialist, Halifax Shipyard. 

Winning team member Mamie McGin says the value of the case competition goes beyond the prize money, "Being a co-op student, it's great to see what employers are looking for in their students and new grads." 

For Sara Baxter, another student on the winning team, the opportunity to present to an executive level and receiving a critique is invaluable, "Getting feedback on your presentation and analysis from people at such a high level - this is not something we're offered in many other situations. Some day we may be working for or with executives in similar roles." 

Acadia students impressed JDI executives, despite the difficulty of the case. "The case competition is an incredible way to engage with students and understand who is interested and has an understanding of what it takes to succeed in business," said Tom Jansen, Senior Vice President of Procurement, JDI Moncton. "Ultimately it's about offering students a unique, real business opportunity and seeing who shines as a possible future leader in the JDI group of companies." 

Seventy-seven Acadia alumni are currently part of the team at the J.D. Irving group of companies and we look forward to welcoming more. Between 2016 and 2018 we're forecasting hiring almost 7,900 people including business, accounting and engineering professionals across our operations. Students can take advantage of the over 2,000 paid student, co-op and internship positions forecasted 2016-2018. Stay in touch with career opportunities via FacebookLinkedIn, Twitter &

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