Southeast Business Students Head to Belgium to Compete in International Case Competition

NIBSCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Feb. 13, 2013 – A group of Southeast Missouri State University business students has been chosen to participate in the 2013 Network of International Business Schools (NIBS) Worldwide Case Competition championship round March 4-8 in Leuven, Belgium.

The 2013 team will be defending Southeast’s title, as the 2012 team won first place at last year’s NIBS competition in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Notably, the 2012 Southeast team was the first U.S. school in the NIBS organization to win the championship round.

Since Southeast is the defending champion, the 2013 team received an automatic bye into this year’s competition.

The NIBS Worldwide Case Competition is an international business case competition sponsored by NIBS, an association of 86 business schools from more than 30 countries located across the globe. It is the oldest undergraduate business case competition in existence, said Dr. Willie Redmond, coach and advisor to the team, who is a professor of economics at Southeast and a Faculty Fellow in the Office of the Provost.

Members of the 2013 Southeast team are Ibrahim (Abe) Elbreki of St. Louis, Emilee Hargis of Highland, Ill., Nick Maddock of O’Fallon, Mo., and Patrick Vining of Waynesville, Mo.

The nine teams joining Southeast for the championship round in 2013 will be: Assumption University (Thailand), Bishop’s University (Canada), Carleton University, Sprott School of Business (Canada), Heilbronn University (Germany), KHLeuven (Belgium, host institution), Lahti University of Applied Sciences (Finland), Memorial University of Newfoundland (Canada), Tennessee Tech University (USA) and University of Prince Edward Island (Canada).

“It is quite an accomplishment to be just included in the final 10 teams that are invited to the championship round,” Redmond said. “Southeast has established a tradition over the years as a steady qualifier, as we have qualified for the championship round five of the seven years that we have been in the NIBS organization (and this includes three semi-finals and one first-place win).” Eight of the top teams qualified for the championship round by solving a business case in a six-hour time frame. All 86 of the NIBS member institutions were sent a business case in early November. It was up to the case competition advisor for each institution to maintain a strict and ethical process by which the students work out the solution, Redmond said. The students were in a room with only four books and no Internet access. Schools then sent their submission to the NIBS judging panel, where they were evaluated. From these entrants, eight teams were selected to participate in Belgium, along with the previous year’s winner (Southeast) and the team from the host school.

“To simulate the setting of the competition in Belgium, the students have practiced with a number of cases,” Redmond said. “I am always impressed with the time and effort that the teams put into preparing for the competition. The students this year are very involved in classes and other activities, but they have found the time to come in and practice at night and on the weekends.”

In Belgium, Southeast will compete against the other top nine teams from around the world. In a “round-robin” stage, the teams will have three or four hours, depending on the day, to prepare their presentations as they compete in head-to-head matches against another school. During this stage, students are sequestered in a room and given a business case to solve with only four reference books and no Internet access. At the end of this period, they must come out and immediately make a 20-minute presentation of their solution to a panel of judges, just as a consultant would do for a client or potential client, Redmond said. The judges conduct a 10-minute question-and-answer period following each presentation.

After the first stage, the top four teams will qualify for the semi-finals.

“This is an invaluable experience for our students,” Redmond said. “On one hand, they get the experience of thinking through varied business problems in a competitive setting, as a paid consultant may have to do. However, perhaps even more importantly, they get the experience of traveling to a different country and interacting daily with students from different cultures.”

About the Team:

Elbreki is a senior majoring in international business.

Hargis is a senior with a triple-major in economics, political science and global studies and minors in Spanish and Latin American studies.

Maddock is a senior and a triple-major in finance, economics and entrepreneurship.

Vining is a senior with a double-major in economics and political science and minors in biology, chemistry, Spanish and criminal justice.

Redmond is the coach/advisor of the team. He is a professor in the Department of Economics and Finance at Southeast.