Harrison College of Business Team Places Third in International Competition



April 16, 2008 – A team of students from Southeast Missouri State University’s Harrison College of Business recently finished third in an international case competition at Coventry University in Coventry, England.

The championship round of the international case competition was sponsored by the Network of International Business Schools (NIBS), an association of 80 business schools located across the globe.

The Southeast team, for the second year in a row, was the only team from the United States chosen to compete in the final round of competition. The team finished third behind Helsinki (Finland) and Memorial (Canada). The Southeast team beat out Concordia (Canada), Bishop’s University (Canada), Katholieke-Hogeschool Leuven (Belgium), Conventry University (United Kingdom), BL Oslo School of Management (Norway), International Business Academy (Denmark) and Zuyd University (Netherlands).

“Last year, we made the finals, but did not place,” said Dr. Gerald McDougall, dean of the Donald L. Harrison College of Business. “This year, our second year, it is amazing what the students accomplished.”

Dr. Willie Redmond, associate professor of economics and finance, said, “It was quite an accomplishment for the Southeast students to be included in the final 10 teams that were invited to England, so to place third out of these 10 is absolutely awesome.

“I must say that this is even more impressive for our students if one understands that so many of the Canadian and European curriculums are predominantly ‘case-based,'” he said. “Many of the students from the other teams do most of their coursework in a ‘case framework’ and then go to similar competitions. For our students to compete so well in this setting, I am very, very pleased.  This reflects very positively on the quality of education that is being delivered by the Harrison College of Business.”

In the first “round-robin” stage of the competition, the 10 teams qualifying for the championship round had three hours to prepare their presentations for head-to-head matches. During this stage, the students were given a business case and were sequestered in a room for three hours.  At the end of this period, they emerged and immediately presented their solution to a panel of judges, just as a consultant would have done for a potential client, Redmond said.

Each team participated in a head-to-head competition on Monday, two head-to-head competitions on Tuesday and one head-to-head-competition on Wednesday. The competitions were designed so the competing head-to-head teams vied for the best of 11 points. On Monday, the Southeast team outlasted Zuyd University (Holland) 6-5. On Tuesday morning, the Southeast contingent beat Katholieke Hogeschool Leuven (Belgium) 8-3. On Tuesday evening, Southeast beat Memorial University (Canada) 7-4. On Wednesday, Southeast was matched against Bishop’s University (Canada), the defending champs, and was outscored 5-6.

However, with its previous scores, the Southeast team was ranked third and positioned among the top four teams that qualified for the semi-finals, advancing to the next level. In addition to Southeast, the other schools qualifying for the semi-finals were Helsinki School of Economics (Finland), Memorial University (Canada) and Concordia University (Canada).In the semi-finals on Friday, Southeast lost a close 5-6 match to Memorial University (Canada). The Helsinki School of Economics won the final round for the championship.

Redmond said this is only the second year that Southeast has entered a team in the NIBS competition.

“I’m very excited that our students have made the finals each of the two years that we have entered this prestigious competition,” he said. “In fact, we are one of only three universities to earn a place in the finals over these two years.”

Southeast’s team included four business students: Callie Carter, a senior accounting major from Jonesboro, Ill.; Nicole Gemoules, a senior accounting major from Perryville, Mo.; Jennifer Koenig, a senior accounting major from Perryville, Mo.; and Scott Price, a senior finance major from Sullivan, Mo. Team members were chosen through a combination of department nominations and essay competitions.

Redmond said he was impressed with the time and effort the team put into preparing for the competition.

“As their advisor, I am perhaps more proud of the team than they are of themselves, because I saw the work they put in to enable their selection for the championship round,” he said.

In a qualifying round for the competition, the students were sent a business case by the NIBS organizing board, with which they were given six hours to identify the relevant issues, suggest a feasible solution, and send it back to the judging panel. To simulate this scenario in their practice sessions, the students worked a number of cases in six-hour timeframes, Redmond said.

“Participating in the 2008 NIBS Competition was the most valuable experience during my time at Southeast,” Gemoules said. “Traveling abroad for the first time, meeting individuals from all around the world, and using the knowledge and skills I have learned at Southeast while analyzing cases made this an event I will never forget.  Additionally, placing third out of 10 teams showed the quality of education I have received at Southeast, especially since many of the competitors’ universities have courses specifically for case analysis. I strongly suggest to anyone in the College of Business during Spring 2009 to look into being a part of this exciting team.”

She says the quality of the business curriculum at Southeast has prepared her well for the business world.

“The quality of education is evident,” she said. “The College provides a well-rounded education to all majors. Our team consisted of three accounting majors and one finance major, all of whom are well educated in topics involving marketing, economics and business analysis. Additionally, Southeast provided the foundation for excellent writing and public speaking skills that are required to succeed in this competition.”

Carter added, “Competing in the NIBS competition was one of the best experiences of my life.  It was challenging, fun and very intense.  Meeting people from all across the world and getting the opportunity to use the business skills I have learned at SEMO was also an incredible way to complete my college years,” she said. “I feel that this competition really helped to sharpen my analytical skills, and it definitely gave me more confidence in my presentation skills.  I am very proud of my fellow classmates, and I am extremely proud to represent Southeast.”

Koenig echoed her teammates statements. “This experience has been one of the best things that I have done while at Southeast,” she said. “I have grown both professionally and as an individual. I feel more confident in my abilities to make presentations and speak in front of people, as well as being able to analyze a case. I am very thankful for this experience and wish I could do it again.”

Being chosen to compete in the worldwide event, Carter says, “shows Southeast is providing key opportunities and necessary skills for its students to be able to compete with schools from across the world.”

The NIBS competition is another step in Southeast’s continuous efforts to provide students with real world experience and internationalize the University, according to Redmond.

“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, even more importantly, they get the experience of traveling to a different country and interacting with students from different countries and cultures.”