Nov. 25, 2020

Class of 2020: Case competitions teach strategic thinking skills, says Haskayne grad

Kiersay Murray reflects on four years of experiences that shaped her finance education

Kiersay Murray's final credits toward her Bachelor of Commerce degree with a concentration in finance were earned in Italy in a winter 2020 exchange semester. Signing on to this experience, she knew it was going to be an adventure and was expecting some fun and fashion in addition to her studies. After a weekend away in Paris, she was unable to return back to Milan because of the border closures due to COVID-19 and had to return home with only a carry-on.

“What I learned from my experience in Italy is that you really need to be able to adjust to the unpredictable,” says Murray.  Upon returning back to Canada and starting into the world of work, Murray has continued to lean into the unpredictable with the career opportunities that she seeks out.

  • Pictured above: Haskayne School of Business grad Kiersay Murray in Italy.

Murray had an amazing opportunity working in investment banking with RBC in the summer of 2019 and finished the internship with plenty of experience and a bit of self-reflection. Being strong in math and analytical thinking, she really enjoys finance but she kept thinking of the things she was exposed to when she participated in the European Innovation Academy in Portugal. 

“This was the first time I had really learned about the innovation and entrepreneurial space,” says Murray. This is where Murray wants to direct the first part of her career. She met Ravina Anand, co-founder of Female Laboratory of Innovative Knowledge, at the European Innovation Academy. Murray is now marketing manager for the organization that connects female founders/leaders and students via meaningful apprenticeships. She's also a budding entrepreneur in her own right, freelancing and co-founding a sustainable fashion company.

“The biggest thing my Haskayne education taught me is that there is so much value in diverse training,” says Murray, who was drawn into the strong case competition culture at Haskayne to apply the broad range of skills she was learning in class. In her four years at Haskayne (her first year was in chemistry at Western), Murray has participated in over six case competitions.

“Case competitions allow students to apply the skills they learn in school to real-word scenarios which creates a skillset that companies are looking for in new hires,” says Murray. She participated in the Inter Collegiate Business Competition (ICBC) all three years. The first year she competed in Human Resources and was in the top six, the second year she was in the top six again in Business Strategy. In her final year in 2020 she competed in Finance and her team received a bronze.

Murray with Aaron Bochert, teammates for finance at ICBC.

Murray with Aaron Bochert, teammates for finance at ICBC.

Beyond case competitions, Murray also got involved with a number of clubs including serving on the executive team for the Women in Business Club and graphic design for Generocksity. She also participated in the New York City Days of Discovery where finance students get to make connections with those in industry. “I even wish I did a lot more than I did,” says Murray of her out-of-classroom experiences.

Murray visiting the New York Stock Exchange on Days of Discovery trip.

Murray visits the New York Stock Exchange on Days of Discovery trip.

At 23 and newly graduated, Murray is still exploring opportunities but what she does know is that “I need purpose in what I do and must have an impact.” Her interests are female empowerment, sustainability and social impact. “My mission is to leave the world one per cent better than when I came into it, and in order to do that I need to take big chances.”