Southeast Business Students to Compete in 2019 NIBS Worldwide Case Competition Championship Round


Members of the 2019 Southeast team competing at the 2019 NIBS Worldwide Case Competition from left are Southeast students Michelle Pulliam, Cooper Rentfro, Caleb Heisserer and Michael Keusenkothen with their team coach and advisor Dr. Willie Redmond.

A team of Southeast Missouri State University business students has qualified for the Championship Round of the 2019 Network of International Business Schools (NIBS) Worldwide Case Competition Feb. 17-22 in Prince Edward Island, Canada.

Southeast was among 16 teams that qualified for the championship round after presenting a business case during a November qualifying round in which more than 90 teams participated.

“It is quite an accomplishment to just be included in the final 16 teams that are invited to the championship round,” said Dr. Willie Redmond, professor of economics, director of Southeast’s International Business Programs, team coach and advisor.

Competing schools were sent a business case in early November. A team of four Southeast students worked in a room with only four reference books and no internet access over an eight-hour period to prepare a business solution and presentation. The Southeast team submitted its solution to the NIBS judging panel that evaluated the proposals. From these entrants, 16 teams were selected to participate in the championship round in Canada.

“This year’s team has put quite a bit of time into their practice sessions,” Redmond said. “Along with the time that we put into practicing for the qualifying round, we have kept a regular schedule of at least four hours (of practice) every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday since the beginning of the spring semester. This is all quite impressive considering the other obligations that they have.”

Members of the 2019 Southeast team are Caleb Heisserer, a senior finance major from Cape Girardeau, Missouri; Michael Keusenkothen, a senior finance major from St. Louis, Missouri; Michelle Pulliam, a junior international business major from St. Peters, Missouri; and Cooper Rentfro, a senior finance major from Dallas, Texas. The team also received additional assistance and guidance from first-year business administration graduate student Sarah Monteiro from Jackson, Missouri, who participated in the 2018 competition in Guatemala.

In Canada, Southeast will compete against the other top 15 teams in a “world cup” style tournament, completing a different case against a different team each day and sometimes presenting two cases per day.

The teams will have three or four hours, depending on the day, to prepare their presentations. During this stage, students are isolated 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 immediately make a 20-minute presentation of their solution to a panel of judges, just as a consultant would do for a client. The judges then conduct a 10-minute question-and-answer period, followed by the declaration of that round’s winner.

“Participating in this competition is a valuable experience for our students, giving them the opportunity to critically think through business problems and use the knowledge that they have acquired in their business curriculum,” Redmond said. “They also get the experience of traveling to a different country and interacting with students from different cultures. Our students’ success in this environment is a testament to the fulfillment of Southeast’s continuous efforts to provide student-centered experiential learning and a thorough education with a global perspective.”

NIBS, an organization of business schools from more than 30 countries across the globe, hosts the Worldwide Case Competition. It is currently recognized as the world’s leading international business case competition, Redmond said.

The 2019 Southeast team continues a proud tradition of the University being a steady qualifier over the years in championship rounds in Dublin, Ireland; Coventry, United Kingdom; Newfoundland, Canada; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Leuven, Belgium; London, United Kingdom; San Antonio, Texas; and Guatemala City, Guatemala. Additionally, Southeast is the only university from the United States that has won first place in the NIBS Case Competition, as the 2012 team won the championship in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

The 16 teams joining Southeast for the 2019 championship round will be: Avans University of Applied Sciences (Netherlands), Bishop’s University (Canada), Concordia University (Canada),

Technological University Dublin (Ireland), École Pratique des Hautes études Commerciales [EPHEC] (Belgium), Heilbronn University (Germany), International Business Academy (Denmark), London South Bank University (United Kingdom), Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences (Netherlands), St. Mary’s University (United States), UC Leuven Limburg (Belgium), Universidad del Istmo (Guatemala), Universidad Interamericana (Puerto Rico), University of Guelph-Humber (Canada), and University of Prince Edward Island (Canada).

For more information about Southeast’s 2019 team and this year’s competition, visit