Shorthanded Okanagan College team comes out on top at HRC West

Christie Klein, left, and Adrianna Knuth
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

A dynamic duo of two Okanagan College students topped the podium at one of Western Canada’s most prestigious HR case competitions over the weekend.

Christie Klein and Adrianna Knuth took first place at the HRC West competition held at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Richmond on March 4. Their win marked the first victory for an Okanagan College team at the event, now in its fourth year.

The victory was all the more impressive due to the fact that Klein and Knuth were forced to compete as a pair when a family emergency prompted their teammate to drop out of the competition only two days prior to the event. The other 14 schools at the event fielded a full team of three competitors plus an alternate.

“Having an added element of adversity really brought us together as a team,” explains Knuth. “We focused on the task at hand and took a lot of confidence from the incredible support of our coaches, and the preparation we had put in over the past few months.”

The way in which the pair rose to the challenge was a source of pride for their coaches Laura Thurnheer and Roger Wheeler, both professors with the Okanagan College School of Business.

“We are extra proud of this team for the way they handled adversity,” says Wheeler. “The extra workload shouldered by Adrianna and Christie was significant and they did more than persevere, they flourished.”

Adding to the challenge of the already fast-paced event was the fact that the team from OC was randomly selected to return to stage to present first in the final round, immediately following the announcement of the final four.

“We literally had minutes to mentally prepare before heading on stage,” explains Klein. “Which was great in a way, in that we didn’t have time to get nervous or overthink our presentation.”

Klein admits that while she and her teammate were calm on stage, emotions ran high when the team from OC was declared the winner.

“When the results were announced, it was pure relief and elation,” says Klein. “We were both so proud to have represented the College, our program, and ourselves so well at such a high-level competition.”

The third time was the charm for Okanagan College at HRC West. This year’s victory builds on a second-place finish last year and a third-place finish the year before.

For their victory, the team received $1500 and student passes to HRMA’s POWER UP Conference and Tradeshow in Vancouver on May 2-3.

Both Klein and Knuth are poised to graduate this year, Klein with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree - Human Resources specialty and Knuth with a BBA Hons. degree - Human Resources specialty and a minor in Communications (which she is on track to complete in just three years), along with a Business Administration diploma specializing in Management.

HRC West is the first business case competition in western Canada dedicated entirely to Human Resources. It was launched in response to a gap in practical learning opportunities for post-secondary students specializing in HR.

Learn more about HRC West at

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