BBA (Finance), 2008
BA (Political Science), 2008
As a mature student, Matt Martell wasted no time in making up for lost time. With a variety of opportunities for engagement at the Beedie School of Business, like case competitions, student clubs and international exchanges, Matt knew Beedie was right for him.
After moving from Calgary to begin his studies, Matt joined the Finance Club, eventually working his way up to president. Faced with a number of challenges at the start of his presidency term, including a budget deficit, he managed to resolve the budget crisis and increased sponsorship, aided by the support of a strong executive team.
Even though his involvement in the Finance Club kept him busy, Matt was motivated to participate in case competitions. The experience of competing in several events without placing, however, made him determined to change Beedie’s fortunes. Along with a group of other competitors, Matt created the Business Competition Association (BCA), designed to help improve the students’ performance in case competitions.
Although the BCA program ended after Matt’s graduation, with the support of Beedie staff and faculty he founded the Case Competition Training Program (CCTP). The program provides a formalized process to prepare students for case competitions, teaching them everything from how to read a case to preparing an effective presentation.
Matt continues to be involved with the CCTP by coordinating and hosting sessions to ensure the continuity and success of the program. He also volunteers his time coaching student teams, acting as advisor for national and international competitions, including the Apex Global Case Challenge in Singapore, JDC-West, and the Belgrade Business International Case Competition (BBICC) in Serbia.
“I enjoy seeing the skills of the students improve during case competitions, and beating some of the top universities from around the world,” says Matt. “It feels good knowing that I had a little part in their development.”
He attributes many of the skills he gained during his time at Beedie to his involvement with case competitions. “Case competitions taught me how to form an argument, make a logical presentation, and support it with evidence,” he says. “These are skills you will need for the rest of your life.”
Despite his heavy workload as a student, Matt did not miss out on the opportunity to work and travel abroad. He completed a four-month exchange program at ESCP Europe in France, followed by a six-month internship at Disneyland Paris. The internship provided him with a broader understanding of working with different cultures, with approximately 80 nationalities represented in the Disney workforce.
The experience gained on international exchange is one that Matt would recommend to any student. “My only regret is not going on exchange sooner so I could have experienced it more than once.”
Matt has also found time to partner with Beedie faculty Peter Tingling and Kamal Masri to conduct research on the NHL draft. The study revealed a surprising trend in NHL teams' ability to pick successful players in the later rounds of the draft. Its findings even garnered some media attention, with the research being featured in numerous media outlets, including the Globe and Mail, and led to several discussions with the NHL and various teams.
Matt now works in the software industry, juggling his career with continued involvement with the CCTP – a successful balancing act to which he credits careful time management and lots of caffeine. His final advice for students is to ignore the 9am-5pm mentality – be flexible, and block off certain times in the calendar where no work is to be done.
- Written by SFU Beedie School of Business