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Schulich School Of Business Students Win $20,000 in RBC Innovation Challenge

TORONTO, March 11, 2010— RBC today announced the student team from the Schulich School of Business at York University as the grand prize winner of the 2010 RBC Next Great Innovator Challenge. The results were compiled after five finalist teams presented their ideas to a panel of RBC executive judges on how best to transform the future workplace.

“We’re seeing more interest in the RBC challenge each year from both students and business schools,” said Avi Pollock, head, Applied Innovation. “We’re also really excited to see more teaching faculty working the competition into their programs, which provided this year’s students with a real-world business challenge that all organizations are faced with.”

The Schulich team, which took home a grand prize of $20,000 for its winning idea, faced stiff competition this year from students at the Richard Ivey School of Business, who earned four of the five finalist spots. The finalists were carefully chosen from over 100 submissions, representing students from 18 Canadian universities.

“Ivey is extremely proud of the first-rate effort put forward by our HBA students, securing four of the five finalist spots, and collectively taking home $25,000 in prizes,” said Darren Meister, Faculty Director of Ivey’s HBA Program. “The Ivey curriculum fosters innovation through challenges such as the Next Great Innovator program, providing our students with a strong background both in academics and in practical learning experiences.”

This year’s challenge asked students from across Canada to suggest innovative methods or tactics to transform the workplace to match the needs of an evolving and diverse workforce.

“We saw some really fresh and innovative thinking in this year’s proposals,” said Zabeen Hirji, chief human resources officer, RBC, and a judge of this year’s competition. “RBC has an increasingly diverse customer base that is reflected in our workforce. We’re excited about how this year’s ideas can help us accelerate the sharing of diverse viewpoints to positively shape our workplace of the future.”

The winning concept, “RBC Connect”, is an intranet application designed to enable more real-time employee interaction, collaboration and sharing of expertise. The other finalist ideas range from organizational relationship-mapping software to a business scenario simulation program, and are all intended to meet the shifting composition of the Canadian workforce and the changing nature of work itself.

RBC is currently testing ideas submitted in previous years of the challenge, including the winning submission from 2007, VIBE interactive high-definition remote banking, and the winning concept from last year, a cross-channel personal online advice suite.

All submissions were first evaluated by a diverse cross-section of RBC employees, which selected the top 15 proposals. A panel of RBC executives then chose the top four team finalists. The last finalist – the winning team from Schulich – was chosen through a peer voting selection process. This was the first time a team selected through peer voting has gone on to win the competition.

For more information on the Next Great Innovator Challenge, visit www.nextgreatinnovator.com.

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Media Contacts
Matt Gierasimczuk, Media Relations, 416-974-2124, matthew.gierasimczuk@rbc.com