Southeast Business Students Take First Place in International Case Competition

by News Bureau on Monday, Mar. 12, 2012

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., March 12, 2012 – A group of Southeast Missouri State University business students won first place in the 2012 Network of International Business Schools (NIBS) Worldwide Case Competition held Feb. 26-March 2 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Southeast is the first American school to win the NIBS Worldwide Case Competition. As the winning school, the team receives an automatic bye into the championship round to which 10 teams will be invited next year in Belgium.

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 was the oldest undergraduate business case competition in existence, said Dr. Willie Redmond, coach and advisor to the team, associate provost for collaborative programs and professor of economics at Southeast.

Members of the Southeast team were Elizabeth Maldonado of Scott City, Mo.; Mitchell Brunson of Springfield, Ill.; and Deanna Dippold of Thebes, Ill,; and Egbar Ozenkoski of St. Louis, Mo.

The 10 schools qualifying for the championship round in 2012 were, in order of rank: Southeast Missouri State University (USA), Carleton University (Canada), Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland), Concordia University (Canada), Belmont University (USA), Memorial University (Canada), Rotterdam University (The Netherlands), International Business Academy (Denmark), Salisbury University (USA) and Katholieke-Hogeschool Leuven (Belgium).

The top 10 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 of each institution to maintain a strict and ethical process by which the students work out the solution, Redmond said. The students are in a room with only four books and no internet access. Schools then send their submission to the NIBS judging panel where it is evaluated. From these entrants, only eight teams are selected to participate, along with the previous year’s winner and the team from the host school.

“I was impressed with the time and effort the team put into preparing for the competition,” Redmond said. “As their coach, I am perhaps even more proud of the team than they are of themselves because I saw the work that they put in to first qualify and enable their invitation to the championship round in Rotterdam.

“Those who really know about this competition certainly realize that it is quite an accomplishment to be just included in the final 10 teams that are invited to the championship round,” he added. “Southeast has established a tradition over the years as a steady qualifier. However, to place first out of these 10 quality schools is absolutely outstanding.”

In Rotterdam, Southeast’s team competed against the other top nine teams from around the world. In the first “round-robin” stage, the teams had three or four hours, depending on the day, to prepare their presentations as they competed in head-to-head matches against another school. During this stage, students are given a business case to solve with only four reference books and no internet access. After the three-to-four-hour time period, they must make a 20 minute presentation of their solution to a panel of judges, Redmond said. After the first stage, the top four teams qualified for the semi-finals. Those teams were: Southeast Missouri State University, Concordia University, Dublin Institute of Technology and Carleton University. Southeast Missouri State University and Carleton University then qualified for the finals, and Southeast took first place over Carleton.

“I was particularly pleased at the private feedback from several judges with whom I spoke at the closing ceremonies,” Redmond said. “They basically said that no team could analyze a case like the Southeast Missouri team.”

Redmond said, “this honor has brought international recognition to Southeast Missouri State University. The students are obviously very proud of that accomplishment.”

About the Team:

Maldonado is a senior non-traditional student completing her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in human resource management. She is a full-time University employee in the Office of the Vice President for Finance and Administration at the University. When Maldonado graduates, she plans to continue her education in Southeast’s Master of Business Administration program in general management. After she earns her master’s degree, Maldonado says she would like to use her education to make a significant contribution to Southeast.

Brunson is a senior double majoring in entrepreneurship and finance. He is a member of Sigma Tau Gamma Fraternity and the Collegiate Entrepreneur’s Organization. He is also a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, Phi Kappa Phi and the Order of Omega honor societies. Brunson has been involved in study abroad programs in Ireland and Italy. After graduating, he would like to pursue a career in finance.

Dippold is a senior with majors in human resource management and finance and minors in Spanish and entrepreneurship. She is a member of the honor societies Phi Kappa Phi and Beta Gamma Sigma. Dippold is president of the Redhawks Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization and is employed as a paralegal and an aquatics facility manager. She has studied abroad in Mexico, Finland and Costa Rica.

Ozenkoski is a senior completing a business administration degree in finance with a minor in economics. He is an officer in the National Residence Hall Honorary, senator in Student Government, a Resident Assistant, a member of the Student Advisory Council and has completed his presidency in Alpha Kappa Psi. Ozenkoski has been involved in study abroad programs in England, France, Ireland and Italy. He interns in the Office of the Vice President for Finance and Administration and has sat on many University committees. Once he earns his degree, Ozenkoski plans to continue his education in Southeast’s Master of Business Administration program and may pursue law school as well.

Redmond is a professor of graduate and undergraduate courses in strategic management at Southeast. He earned a doctoral degree in economics and an MBA from the University of South Carolina. Redmond is involved with Southeast’s study abroad programs, teaching in places such as Finland and the Netherlands. He is a Faculty Fellow in the Office of the Provost, where he serves as the director of the Missouri Alliance for Collaborative Education.