The inaugural event of the competition, held in 1978, was the innovation of Geoff Arnoldi, BCOMM ’79, who modified a Cornell University competition. I.C.B.C. ’78 was a one-day, three event competition in which ten universities competed in a computer simulated Business Game, a Business Policy Case, and a Debate. New events were introduced in subsequent years, including Accounting, Labour Arbitration (which was replaced with Human Resources in 2010), Marketing, and Management of Information Systems (MIS).
In order to qualify for the Final Round of I.C.B.C., students had to compete in a Preliminary Round in teams of two (three for Business Policy). The competitors analyzed real-world simulation problems and provided a written case analysis. In 1988, the qualification structure of this round changed. Instead of inviting the top five schools based on an overall score from their performance during the Preliminary Round, the top six teams from each individual event were invited to attend. This new structure further enhanced the ability of universities to be represented at the Final Round.
In 1995, Finance was introduced to the competition, and the Sheldon Chumir Foundation Ethics Event was added in 2001. In 2001, American universities participated in I.C.B.C. for the first time and technology was integrated into the competition with the addition of laptops for competitor use during preparation and presentations.