Southeast Fifth in NIBS Worldwide Case Competition


From left are Dr. Willie Redmond; Sarah Monteiro, business administration graduation assistant who helped train the team; Cooper Rentfro; Michelle Pulliam; Michael Keusenkothen; and Caleb Heisserer.

A team of Southeast Missouri State University business students finished fifth out of 16 qualifying finalists at the Championship Round of the 2019 Network of International Business Schools (NIBS) Worldwide Case Competition Feb. 17-22 in Prince Edward Island, Canada.

The team went 3-1 in its matches, losing only to the eventual competition winner, the University of Guelph-Humber, Canada, in a close 5-6 head-to-head contest.

For the second straight year, Southeast finished first in its four-team pairing, tying for the most points through the group stage.

“We convincingly won these first three matches, the students made excellent presentations,” said Dr. Willie Redmond, professor of economics, director of Southeast’s International Business Programs, team coach and advisor.

In the initial group stage, Southeast beat London (UK) South Bank University 7-4, Rotterdam (Netherlands) University of Applied Science 6.5-4.5, and University College Leuven Limburg (Belgium) 7-4.

Cooper Rentfro won an individual award for overall “Best Presenter.”

In addition, Southeast student Cooper Rentfro won an individual award of the week for overall “Best Presenter.”

“Out of 16 teams of four (64 students) of some of the leading case competition competitors around the world, Cooper from Southeast was voted the best!” Redmond said. “That is obviously quite an accomplishment.

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 Rentfro, a senior finance major from Dallas, Texas.

The teams had three or four hours, depending on the day, to prepare their presentations. Students were 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 immediately made a 20-minute presentation of their solution to a panel of judges who conducted 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. The Harrison College of Business and Computing provides a well-rounded education to all majors,” Redmond said. “This year’s team consists of three finance majors and one international business major, all of whom are well educated in topics involving accounting, marketing, management, economics and business analysis. Additionally, Southeast provided the foundation for excellent public speaking and writing skills that are necessary for business case competitions. As a result, the judges were quite impressed by their preparation.

“When you add the fact that they also get the experience of traveling to a different country and interacting with students from different cultures, this is really a wonderful event for these students,” he said.

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 16 teams joining Southeast for the 2019 championship round were: 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