Lynn University Students Take Top Prize In International Competition

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Staff report

It was the first time Lynn University entered the IACBE Student Case Competition and the newbies took home the first place.

Team members Tyler Hopkins, Anna Shawley, Diederik Hooijkaas and John Panzo traveled to Las Vegas in April to compete in the International Accreditation Council for Business Education’s Annual Conference and Assembly Meeting.

They edged out schools from across the world including Germany, Switzerland and Guam. They edged out teams in a competition that challenges business students to analyze a live business case and present their plans to a panel of judges who are in the corporate realm.

“It was a moment of great pride,” College of Business and Management Dean RT Good said. “The feedback from the judges was that they were polished, insightful and enthusiastic.”

Dean Good said he knew the students would be strong contenders in the competition because they are faced with real world business cases in the classroom.

“We believed we were strong players in this format,” he said. “We thought our students would have an advantage going into the competition.”

About six weeks prior to the competition, the team was given a case study from a real business. The company wanted to shift from a business to business model to a business to consumer model.

Hooijkaas said the team got to work figuring out how to market the idea, what audience to target and how to execute the plan.

He said the team decided to target millennial moms because they make a majority of decisions in a household. The product was to be used by middle school and high school age children and Hooijkaas said they would only use the project if their mom bought it.

But the competition involved more than just coming up with an idea. The team had to come up with how much it would cost to implement.

Their mix of presenting marketing and financial data is what they say sealed the win for them.

“All of our research was based off data,” Shawley said.

In addition to the planned case study, the team was given an ethics challenge on the spot. They had just three hours to come up with a solution to a problem and argue why their answer was the best for the company and its stakeholders, employees and consumers in a 15 minute presentation.

“It’s an extremely unique experience,” Hooijkaas said. “The competition allows us to get real life experience.”

Shawley agreed and said it helped with skills like teamwork and performing under pressure.

Dean Good said the team set a high bar for next year’s competitors.