Southeast Takes First Place at UMSL International Business Case Competition

UMSL-competitionCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., April 8, 2014 – A team of Southeast Missouri State University business students took first place April 4-5 at the second annual University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) International Business Case Competition.

The Southeast group took the top honors and brought home $1,000 among eight competing universities. Members of the Southeast team were Chris Dzurick, a marketing management major from Fulton, Mo.; Kyle Jacobsmeyer, a marketing management major from Florissant, Mo.; Jenny Macke, a business administration major from Cape Girardeau; and Malli Tahghighi, an accounting major from St. Louis.

“I have coached teams in numerous business case competitions over the years and an over-riding theme that I hear from others is that no team analyzes the situations around a business case, on the level of the Southeast team,” said Dr. Willie Redmond, faculty associate in the Office of the Provost and professor of economics at Southeast. “This is a testament to the quality business education that our students get from the Harrison College of Business.  No matter what their business major may be, the students with whom I work are well grounded in all of the business fields.”

Redmond said the four students put in many extra hours of time and effort on nights, weekends and on snow days to work and improve.

“They each bring their own talents to the table, but they are also wonderful at listening to suggestions on how they can improve on these abilities,” he said.

Second place at the UMSL International Business Case Competition went to Illinois State University. The University of Missouri-Columbia took third place, and Lindenwood University received fourth place. Other participating institutions were Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, Truman State University, University of Missouri-St. Louis and Westminster College.

The case on which the students were judged was on the Monsanto Corporation’s vegetable seed business. The teams had less than 24 hours to research, analyze and develop a presentation outlining an action plan for an original business case study. Monsanto flew in their Chief Information Officer from Monsanto Asia in Thailand to help judge the case.  Other judges were from companies such as Accenture, Dupont, Novus, Connectria, Boeing, Masterclock, Armstrong Teasdale and Ralcorp/Conagra, Redmond said. The judges consider each team’s quality of analysis, recommendation, presentation and ability to respond to questions.

“Events such as this are wonderful, as they allow our students to get strategic feedback from such people,” Redmond said. “They also prove to be excellent showcases for our students, and the students are able to get in some valuable networking, also.”

Redmond said case competitions like this one provide students with experiential learning opportunities beyond the classroom.

“In these case competitions, the students act as consultants for firms, hence gaining the ability to first identify problems and then solve those problems,” he said.  “These skills are crucial to decision-makers in the business world. Past students of these competitions have commented later on at how these experiences were helpful to them; starting with their employment interviews, on through the actual tasks that they faced on the job.”

The students began in November to prepare for both the UMSL International Business Case Competition and the Network of International Business (NIBS) Worldwide Case Competition held in London in March. The students first qualified to participate in the NIBS competition from more than 90 universities in the NIBS Network. Sixteen teams from Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States were invited to the finals in London.  The Southeast team subsequently finished fifth among the 16 teams in the NIBS competition, Redmond said.