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Scarborough student is sole campus representative at national event

Derrick Fung was the youngest delegate at a national competition.

Derrick Fung believes that experience is a reward in itself.

It is a fitting observation from the second-year management co-op student who was the only representative selected from the University of Toronto Scarborough to participate in a national business competition in Ottawa this fall.

At the age of 18, Derrick was also the youngest delegate at the competition. He was competing with students from across Canada, including graduate students in MBA programs, engineering majors, and senior students with several more years of university experience under their belt. The competitors came from 18 different universities across Canada.

Derrick’s team won second place in Impact Apprentice 2006, a live competition that focused mainly on sales, marketing and strategic management skills.

Derrick was one of the 32 delegates from across Canada who qualified from the pool of more than 300 applicants. The selection process was a three-round procedure that included application, essay or video submission, and an interview.

“Although it was quite intimidating at first, the fact that there were people from all over Canada was very exciting,” he said. “People came from the University of British Columbia in the west, as well as from Bishop’s University in the east,” he said.

“Working with others on the team was challenging, because we had all just met,” he said. “We didn't know one another's strengths and weaknesses.” However, he said the team members all collaborated over the four-day period to form a tightly-knit team, and each member contributed in a different way. 

The competition took place in September in Ottawa. The delegates were grouped into four teams of eight by the organizers and began the three phases of the competition. Derrick’s team won first place in the sales portion of the challenge after raising $1,300 in less than four hours by selling candy from the Sugar Mountain store around town in Ottawa. They even managed to get NDP leader Jack Layton to contribute to their cause by selling him some candy. Their reward for winning the challenge was a networking dinner with the management of IBM Canada.

The marketing portion of the challenge saw the team members present their plans to develop Telus’ data messaging systems -- an idea the company has seriously considered implementing. The final and most intense portion was the strategic management challenge to raise $10,000 for the Children’s Wish Foundation, a task presented to the delegates at midnight. Derrick’s team developed a plan to use customized coupon books involving many large companies such as AMC theatres and Sportchek, which, according to their projection would raise nearly $40,000. (His team did not get chosen to continue in this round so was unable to test the projection.)

Even though his team came second overall, Derrick sees the result as “a motivation to keep striving for success. All in all, working with people of various backgrounds helped me realize the importance of being able to work with a team, even if we were strangers four days earlier!”

At U of T Scarborough, Derrick serves on the executive team of the Management and Economics Students Association (MESA) as the Information Technology Manager. He is also one of the judges in this year’s Management Apprentice Program (MAP), a MESA-run competition that Derrick had won last year. “My participation in the campus apprentice program greatly enhanced my analytical and communication skills, which I used in Ottawa. I thought MAP was an amazing program so I’m back to help,” he said.

Derrick also has plans to develop a mentorship program for first-year students in management and economics programs to enable professors and leaders from various fields to offer their expert advice in career development to students. In addition, he is on his first co-op work term at Microsoft Canada as a Marketing Associate.

Derrick describes the Impact experience as “definitely surreal. Although I have competed on campus, I wouldn't have known how my business acumen would stand up against others from across Canada. Being able to compete at such a high level was both challenging and rewarding. The friendly environment at the Scarborough campus and in MESA has really encouraged me to constantly challenge myself and always work towards my goals.”

Swetha Chirravur is a fourth-year student in English and economics. She is currently serving as a work-study student in the Office of Marketing and Communications.

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