../Morning Post
Posted April 13, 2011

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Contest

McMaster sweeps international case study contest

Hamilton - Three students from the DeGroote School of Business' Masters of Communications Management program swept the business school category at the 2011 A.W. Page Society International Case Study Competition in New York City. Colleen Killingsworth, Rebecca Edgar and Kim Morris placed first, second and third respectively.

Terry Flynn, professor of communications management at the DeGroote School of Business, attended the competition to support the contestants.

"For the second time in three years, MCM students have demonstrated that their work and their contribution to the fields of communications management, public relations and reputation management is world class," said Flynn. "This year we swept the competition, beating some of America's leading business schools. It's a testament to the students and to the rigor and quality of the educational experience they receive in the MCM program. My hat goes off to all three of our winners. They continue to do McMaster proud."

Placing first in the competition, Colleen Killingsworth has more than 20 years experience in communication. She is a public relations executive with a strong track record in leadership, strategic planning and project management.

"The win is icing on the cake. Dr. Flynn's reputation management course brought together all of the theory and skills we honed during the program into a nice, tidy package," said Killingsworth. "Having the opportunity to apply the reputation management theory and skill set to developing a reputation management case in itself was rewarding. But then to actually have my case study chosen to enter into the competition and then ultimately place first in the business school category has been surreal. It's one of the proudest moments of my career. I have also had the opportunity to share my case study with senior leaders from the Calgary Stampede which is an added bonus," said Killingsworth.

Rebecca Edgar, who placed second in the competition, is a part-time graduate student at McMaster University in the MCM program. With over a decade of experience, Edgar has spent the past two years providing strategic communication planning and implementation for clients in professional services, non-profit, retail and pharmaceutical, as an independent consultant.

"When I first set my sights on the MCM program, I was hoping it would do two things: update my PR skills and give me an edge in an increasingly competitive industry. When I think back now, having completed four of the six semesters, I laugh out loud. The MCM program has delivered so much more," said Edgar. "I have studied under industry leaders and academics whose wisdom and experience is beyond anything I could have imagined. I have revisited some familiar concepts, but have spent more time learning and applying current theory. I have also connected with professionals, through colleagues and my own research projects, who have broadened my mind and opened doors."

Third place winner, Kim Morris, is the senior advisor, communications and public affairs at the North East Community Care Access Centre based in Sudbury. Fluently bilingual in English and French, Kim holds a degree in political science from Laurentian University as well as a diploma in communications from Cambrian College. She also holds a certificate in advanced alternative dispute resolution from the University of Windsor Law School. Kim will graduate from the MCM program in the spring of 2011.

"The MCM Program at DeGroote has provided me with an opportunity to marry theory with practice. Through research, interviews, and in-depth analysis of both practical strategies and PR theories, I was able to develop theories of my own. This strategic thinking is one of the best gifts that DeGroote and McMaster could have given me. I came into the program wanting to become a better strategist, and I believe that has been achieved. On the personal side, it is great to know that you can go back to school after being in the workforce for so many years and through hard work, self-discipline and dedication, be able to succeed," said Morris.

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