Sheridan’s Best in Blue marketing team looking to live up to their name


Next weekend, Windsor’s St.Clair college will play host to more than 250 advertising and marketing students for the most important competitive event of their academic careers.

The Ontario Colleges’ Marketing Competition (OCMC) is a two day test of students skills in the marketing and advertising industries. Students compete in team, individual and pair events, under the pressure of time constraints and the fact that they’re being judged by industry experts and professionals.

“It’s nerve-wracking because we don’t know what to expect and the company that we’re going to be analyzing is going to have a representative there judging us, so the pressure is on,” said third-year business administration and marketing student Kelly Nelson.

Students will be challenged by case studies, interviews, sales presentations and a jeopardy style quiz bowl in which they have a limited amount of time to draw on textbooks, magazines and their experiences in order to correctly complete the task at hand.

“It’s not just about the content but also how well you present and how much pizazz you bring to the table,” said Sheridan advertising professor and OCMC coach, Annie Tarzi.

The Sheridan marketing and advertising programs have been preparing for the competition since early last year. Professors from the programs handpicked certain students and asked them to apply, try-outs were held at the end of April and those who made the cut have been gearing up ever since.

OCMC students at a training session w ex-Dean of the faculty of business, Bill Holmes

OCMC students at a training session w ex-Dean of the faculty of business, Bill Holmes

Nelson and her partner get together with their coach once a week. They are given a case study and a 30-minute time limit to solve the problem they’re presented.

“I think we have a really strong team in place,” said Tarzi. “We select the best of the best advertising and marketing students to compete against the best of the best in Ontario.”

Adding to the usual pressure of the event is the fact that this year’s Sheridan students will be defending the gold medal title.

Sheridan alumni and two-time member of the OCMC team Mahfuz Chowdhury describes last year’s event as a phenomenal experience.

“Our team did amazingly, it was hands down the best experience I’ve had at Sheridan,” he said. “It was just the best opportunity to take everything that you learned in school and go out there and show industry experts that it’s working.”

For Sheridan students, the experience wasn’t over when the awards were announced. OCMC has long-lasting effects for those who compete.

“It’s such a big title and it gives students so much credibility,” Chowdhury said. “Employers are actually impressed knowing that you were a part of it.”

Tarzi has been involved with Sheridan’s OCMC team for the past four years, so she knows first-hand how beneficial the competition can be.

“Coming out of the experience, students say they have grown so much as individuals, both in confidence and academically,” she said. “They’re much stronger coming out of it.”

Nelson turned down professors’ requests to join the team in her first two years at Sheridan but agreed to try out this year – and she doesn’t regret it for a minute.

“Obviously it’s a really great thing to put on a resume, but there’s also this team environment where you’re all working towards something and you get to learn about everything else,” she said. “I would encourage any student in advertising or marketing to do it, it’s been really great.”


Sheridan’s 2013 OCMC team is looking forward to a big finish at this years event.