A team of Chaminade business students took home third place in the annual International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE) student case study competition in Las Vegas. Lady Luck may have been on the students’ side, but their win was well deserved after weeks of hard work and preparation.
The IACBE competition is held during the organization’s annual conference and is open to students from all IACBE-member and non-member institutions worldwide. It’s split into two portions over the course of two days—the live business case competition and the ethical case competition. This year’s conference and competition was held on April 9–12 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
“This experience provides students with great opportunities for creativity, critical analysis and intellectual engagement, and can lead to a higher level of learning than mere knowledge absorption,” Dr. Guanlin Gao, assistant professor of economics and faculty mentor, said. “It also can help students acquire practical career-relevant competencies such as data analysis, writing and oral presentation skills, time management and the ability to give and receive constructive criticism.”
The first day of competition was the live business case. This year, competing teams were required to create a business plan for écree, a fast-growing writing support technology company based in North Carolina, which they then had to present to two panels of judges. The plan and executive summary submitted by Chaminade’s team included all the perspectives of growth strategy, sales and business development, marketing, research and development, reporting, financial planning and analysis. Teams received the parameters of this case a month prior to the competition.
But the second-day case, otherwise known as the urgent ethical case, was released the same day as the competition, only four hours before. It was provided by the University of Arizona Eller Center for Leadership Ethics and asked students to make recommendations regarding the incorporation of artificial intelligence in law enforcement for a fictional company. This was also followed by two different presentations to two panels of judges.
Thirty students from eight different institutions qualified for the finals and competed in this year’s competition. Chaminade’s team was comprised of four students including Savannah Lyn Delos Santos, Renee Leifi, Daniel Maximo and Kai Rivera.
The team began preparing for the IACBE competition in mid-January, spending five hours every Friday and Sunday learning how to approach a business case and conduct business research, listening to guest speakers and practicing with cases used in previous years.
The first case was released at the end of March so team members forfeited their spring break to prepare for the competition, clocking at least 70 hours during those eight days. In order to train for the same-day ethics case, the students practiced with a variety of scenarios so that they’d be prepared for anything.
But the hard work and dedication paid off, and Chaminade took home third place in a close competition. Chaminade’s team was only two points behind second place winner, Germany’s Cologne Business School, which was only one point behind first place winner, Lynn University in Florida.
“I think placing was really nice but it didn’t mean as much compared to the new friendships I had fostered with my teammates, coaches and students and faculty from the other institutions attending the conference,” Maximo said. “That in itself was the true win.”
Regardless of how Chaminade’s team placed in the competition, the students who participated agree that the experience challenged them to grow and learn outside of the traditional classroom setting.
“I learned to discern humbly that there is no one right way to do something,” Delos Santos, senior business marketing major, said. “Answers vary in business. We have to constantly be adapting to macro-environmental changes in business, and keep up with the trends and what methods are currently successful.”