School of Business Students Take Second Place In Business-Ethics Competition

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Students from the U’s Eccles School of Business took second place in the Daniels Fund Consortium Case Competition, where teams compete to solve a business-ethics dilemma.

The competition, which included various business schools from the Rocky Mountain region, was held in Denver on April 14 and 15. A team from the University of Northern Colorado’s Monfort College took first place. The University of Colorado Denver Business School took third.

The U team — comprised of students Ben Caine, Carly Ho, Paxton Klein, Howard Reeve and Jan Ostusinik — acted as business consultants before the competition’s judges, who functioned like a board of trustees in a hypothetical case where a defense company needed to decide whether to acquire a smaller firm with questionable ethical characteristics.

Jeff Nielsen, a professor of entrepreneurship in the Eccles School, accompanied the team as an advisor and coach.

“They are really a phenomenally motivated group of kids,” Nielsen said. “The time that they poured into this, the preparation, the practice, the late-night meetings … it’s just a huge amount of dedication.”

Teams had several weeks to create a business plan and a PowerPoint that they presented at the competition. After they had presented, judges gave the teams a twist on the case, revealing new information about the situation. Teams then had four hours to prepare a new analysis and present to the judges again.

Reeve, a freshman in finance and accounting, worked as the team’s consulting director, deciding what the group needed to prioritize in their presentation.

“It was really enjoyable,” Reeve said. “In addition to being something that’s analytical and technical, I had fun and got to collaborate with five other people who are really great at what they do.”

Nielsen thinks the team’s success in the competition is due not only to their solid business proposal but also to their presentation skills and charisma. The competition intends to replicate a situation that students may face in their future careers. Judges analyze both the ethics of their proposal and the business viability of their plans. Teams present for 10 minutes before a five-minute question and answer period, where judges evaluate the team’s understanding of the issues.

Caine, a freshman in finance, attributes their success to having a strong, diverse team.

Caine said: “We heard from audience members who said it went very, very well, so we felt good about it.”

m.bateman@dailyutahchronicle.com

@mbatman72

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