Two Niagara University in Ontario Students Progress to Second Round of the Canada Comeback Challenge

  • Dec 16, 2020

Two students in Niagara University in Ontario’s MBA program have progressed to the second round of the Canada Comeback Challenge, a skill-building national competition that enables student teams to tackle real-world problems facing employers in Canada’s public, private, and nonprofit sectors. The students, who teamed up with students from the University of Toronto, will participate in the second round in January 2021.

Under the guidance of Dr. Galina Boiarintseva, assistant professor of management, and Dr. Anna McNab, associate professor of management, Larissa Filice and Lubna Abu-Jazar engaged in developing solutions for Canadian post-COVID recovery. They and their team developed a detailed proposal for the Business Council of Canada in response to the question of whether or not companies should take on a larger role in the education, skills development, and training of both new hires and current employees to bridge the gap between the needs of employers and the skills of Canadian post-secondary graduates.

The team proposed the development and implementation of a digital platform that assesses and tracks the skills of an organization’s employees to identify training opportunities and provide a quantitative metric for the analysis of training program effectiveness. They noted that this data can also be utilized in conjunction with academic partners to develop specialized training programs, which would help to remedy the growing mismatch between the skills of employees and the needs of employers to support a thriving Canadian economy. 

The team’s proposal was accepted, moving them to the second of three rounds, and the opportunity to pitch their solution to an esteemed panel of judges.

“I am impressed by the professionalism, enthusiasm, and dedication that NU's first MBA cohort in Vaughan demonstrated during the preparation for this round of the Canada Comeback Challenge,” said Boiarintseva. “While only two students were allowed to join the official team due to competition's requirements, others in the cohort were actively assisting the team behind the scenes. We embarked on this challenge during the ‘People in Organizations’ MBA course. Students were excellent at applying newly learned concepts of team formation, negotiations, and effective communication with others. Dr. McNab and I are very proud of our students and look forward to assisting them further in the competition."

“It was my absolute honor and pleasure to work with the team of students from several Canadian universities,” said McNab. “These sharp, young minds are the future for our businesses, governments, and our hope for a better society. They are the perfect example of how much can be accomplished when you collaborate across different fields of expertise and experience and dare to challenge the status quo. I was impressed by their eagerness to learn and their creative approach to solving problems. They worked hard and created a proposal that advanced them to the second round of the challenge, bringing immense future learning opportunities to the students. I am thankful to Dr. Galina Boiarintseva for inviting me to this project, and very proud of the students' accomplishments.”

The Canada Comeback Challenge is a skill-building national competition designed for students to connect with mentors and employers, build their network, and add valuable experience to their resumes while contributing to Canada’s COVID-19 recovery. Throughout the competition, students have access to financial resources to help develop their pitches, as well as professional development courses and mentorship and networking opportunities that will enrich their experience and support skills development for their future careers. 

Niagara University in Ontario’s AACSB-accredited MBA program, launched in August, is designed for college grads and working professionals. The customizable program is taught by esteemed faculty with close ties in the business community, can be completed in as little as 15 months, and offers classes on weekends and evenings for the convenience of working professionals. There are six focused areas of specialization: accounting, finance, global business and supply chain management, healthcare administration, strategic management and strategic marketing. For more information on these programs, visit: