For the second straight year, a team of B.A.S. International Business students won the Russell Investments International Business Case Competition—Pacific Northwest Track—at the University of Washington Foster School of Business. Chris Alop, Isis Bordner, Jerome Cherry and Justin Dominguez, all juniors, were successful November 5, despite a very tight time line for preparation.
The case competition requires teams to make a presentation about a specific business-related topic to a mock board of directors, then field a question and answer session and make recommendations to the group. “The charge was to suggest where Emirates Airlines should expand over the next five years,” CJ Alop explains. “We were to identify countries and cities within those countries and justify the recommendations by using Emirates’ SWOT (strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats) analysis.” North’s team had to consider what factors drive demand in the locations they chose and address challenges involved in various routes and how to overcome them. The group presented 26 slides to the panel of four judges, comprised of local industry representatives including representatives from Emirates.
This project proved to be a valuable lesson in cooperation, according to Jerome Cherry. “Having a team that can collaborate and work in harmony can be a difficult task and takes time to develop. But our team had only met weeks earlier and had 72 hours to put together a presentation! We quickly discovered each member has unique abilities, and we worked to harness those individual skills.”
“Instructor Honorio Todino helped us understand that we should focus on a single solution for the presentation as it would only be 10 minutes long,” explained Cherry. “A Foster School of Business coaching session helped us understand what slides would be beneficial to the performance. Ultimately, our presentation was detailed enough to warrant a first-place prize in our division.”
Todino had lots of praise for his students: “They worked very hard to do well in the competition. All of them are working full-time in addition to attending the B.A.S. International Business program (like most of the students in the program). So they had to ask co-workers to cover for them—one even had to pay a co-worker for coverage. Another has a new baby in the family. Given that these students are juniors, they've only had five weeks of classes in the IB program, and they had only seen two case studies prior to the competition. Yet, despite the challenges, they won! The competition previously only included UW students. Starting last year, the Foster School started inviting community colleges to compete in a separate division as part of their community outreach. With our second straight victory, NSC B.A.S. IB has had a monopoly on the trophy so far.” The team received $500 and certificates to commemorate their accomplishment.
Their success actually surprised the team. “We were shocked that we won,” says Isis Bordner. “This was our first case competition, basically only our third time doing a case study period, and we knew we were going to be competing with the seniors. It was overall lots of fun coming together to create solutions for a request and creating a valid-enough point to take home the win by simply following directions and taking all of our coaching into consideration. We as a team questioned each other to make sure we were on the same page, as well as confident with our decisions, and helped each other tackle challenges.”
Justin Domingues agreed to participate because he saw this as a great opportunity and a way to gain experience. “It is nerve-racking to speak in front of others and even more so when you know you are being judged…when it was all over, we felt relieved, and I think we all felt a sense of pride... We worked hard to do our best and, although we think we could have done better, it was enough for us to win this time. I look forward to competing in the future and would highly recommend to anyone to jump on an opportunity to do anything like this.” The others agree – next year will be a chance to bring another win back to North.
Find additional information about the Bachelor of Applied Science in International Business degree program here.