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Students Compete in 2014 NIBS Worldwide Case Competition

NIBS Worldwide Case Competition team members Chris Dzurick, Jenny Macke, Malli Tahghighi, and Kyle Jacobsmeyer, with their coach, Dr. Willie Redmond.

NIBS Worldwide Case Competition team members Chris Dzurick, Jenny Macke, Malli Tahghighi, and Kyle Jacobsmeyer, with their coach, Dr. Willie Redmond.

A team of four Southeast Missouri State business students qualified in the fall of 2013 and then traveled to London in March 2014, to compete in the Championship Round 2014 NIBS Worldwide Case Competition. The team included Chris Dzurick (a senior Marketing major), Kyle Jacobsmeyer (a junior Marketing major), Jenny Macke (a junior Business Administration major) and Malli Tahghighi (a senior Accounting major).  The coach/advisor of the team is Dr. Willie Redmond, who is a Professor of Economics in the Harrison College of Business.

The NIBS Worldwide Case Competition is an international business case competition that is sponsored by the Network of International Business Schools (NIBS), an association of over 90 business schools (from over 30 countries) located across the globe.  The NIBS Worldwide Case Competition was the “first” (and is therefore the “oldest”) undergraduate business case competition in the world.

In London, the Southeast team competed against 15 other teams from Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, and the United States.  In London, over the course of the week, teams had 3 or 4 hours (depending on the day) to prepare presentations as they competed in head-to-head matches against another school.  This was done in “round-robin” format.  During this stage, the students are sequestered in a room and then given a business case to “solve” in the relevant (3 or 4 hours) time, with only four reference books and no internet access.   At the end of this period, they must come out and immediately make a 20 minute presentation of their solution to a panel of judges, just as a consultant would do for a client (or potential client).  The judges consist of academics and people from the business community.  They conduct a 10 minute question-and-answer period, following each presentation.  The matches are designed so the competing teams vie for the best of 11 points… and then the winning team receives one bonus point.

The Southeast team ended the week with a 5th place finish out of the 16 schools.  Dr. Redmond was also honored with the “2014 – Most Inspiring Coach Award” from the NIBS organization.

By qualifying for the Championship Round yet again, the 2014 Southeast team continued the record of NIBS Case Competition excellence that Southeast has exhibited over the years.  Notably, the Southeast Missouri State University team was the First-Place winner of the 2012 NIBS competition, which took place in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, of that year.  This accomplishment was especially relevant as Southeast was the first (and still the only) school from the United States to win the NIBS Worldwide Case Competition.

Almost just as relevant, Southeast has a stellar record of “qualifying” for the Championship Round.  The Qualifying Round of the competition is such that each of the NIBS member institutions is sent a “business case” by the NIBS organizing board.   It is up to the case competition coach/advisor of each institution to maintain a strict and ethical process by which the students are given the case and allowed a 6 hour time-frame to work out a solution.  During this time, they are sequestered away with only four books and no internet access.  This solution is limited to 1500 words, plus diagrams and tables.  The submission is then sent back to the NIBS judging panel where it is evaluated.

Southeast Missouri State is one of only two universities in the organization that have qualified for the final round, in each of the past 5 years. (The teams have also qualified in 7 of the 8 years that Southeast has been a member of the NIBS organization.)  During this time, the Southeast teams have traveled to Championship Round locations such as Dublin, Ireland; Coventry, England; St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada; Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Leuven, Belgium; and London, England. In addition to the first-place win in 2012, there have been two 3rd place finishes.

In fact, according to Dr. Redmond, it was due to the sustained success of the Southeast team and a few of the others, that the Championship Round was expanded from 10 to 16 teams this year (2014).  Apparently, due to the fact that only 10 school previously qualified and given the dominance of a few schools, others were “complaining” about their difficulty in reaching this round and hence experiencing the learning experience that the students enjoy in that Championship Round setting.  So as noted, the field was expanded, but this in itself is a tribute in part to the excellence of the Southeast teams!

“Those who really know about this competition, certainly realize that it is quite an accomplishment to be just included in the final number of teams that are invited to the Championship Round, as there are almost 100 schools in the NIBS organization,” said Dr. Redmond

“I must say that this is even more impressive for our students, if one understands that so many of the Canadian and European curriculums are predominantly “case-based”.  Many of the students from the other teams do most of their coursework in a “case framework” and then go to similar competitions. For example, our very distinguished semi-final opponent sent case teams to over 50 such competitions last year.  For our students to compete so well in this setting, I am very, very pleased. This reflects very positively on the quality of education that is being delivered by the Harrison College of Business and Southeast Missouri State as a whole.”

The NIBS Worldwide Case Competition is another step in Southeast’s continuous efforts (directly from our Mission Statement) to “emphasize student-centered and experiential learning” and to provide “a thorough general education with a global perspective”.  This is an invaluable experience for our students.  On one hand, they get the experience of thinking through varied business problems in a competitive setting, as a paid consultant may have to do. However, perhaps even more importantly, they get the experience of traveling to a different country and interacting daily with students from different cultures.

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