A report written for a Turnaround Management course by Odette students Mike Rizzo and Ashley Routliffe was recognized by the Toronto chapter of the Turnaround Management Association as the top Odette report at their Annual Symposium held in Toronto on April 18, 2012. The award included an opportunity to attend the annual event at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel as guests of the Toronto Chapter and to hear and meet some of Canada's leading Turnaround Professionals.
The course, taught by Professor Pete Mateja during the fall 2011 semester, required students to create a report that profiled a real company that had undergone a turnaround and resurfaced to become profitable once again.
Rizzo and Routliffe chose to report on the turnaround of Algoma Steel. Algoma was selected because the steel manufacturing industry is an important part of the Ontario economy and has historically employed a significant number of people. The report encompassed an analysis of the steel industry, Algoma’s history, the lead-up to the company crisis, the implemented restructuring plan, and a financial analysis.
The students approach to writing the report was to gather as much information as possible. The students gained a thorough understanding of what caused Algoma to fail in the first place, how it grew to become profitable, why it failed a second time, and what steps needed to be taken to turn the company around again. The report was created to outline key aspects of the gathered information and make for an insightful read.
Both students felt the process was a tremendous learning experience; not only did they gain excellent insight into Algoma and the steel industry, they effectively learned how to turn around a company. Additionally, the students gained hands-on knowledge by learning about a real company. Of the experience, Mike Rizzo stated: “School can only teach you so much in a classroom. The hands-on experience comes in the form of opportunity and this was a great one.”