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Idaho State University all-star business team “BeMed” prepares for global competition

January 26, 2015
ISU Marketing and Communications

Idaho State University College of Business (COB) graduate students will learn the “nuts and bolts” of running a business in an international competition that will pit them against some of the top business students in the world.

The 51st International Collegiate Business Strategy Competition — the nation’s oldest and most comprehensive collegiate business simulation competition—will get underway in late January. It’s hosted by California State University, Long Beach.

ISU business All Star team. Front row from left: Anil Mandal,   Joe Dobbins, Connor Pate, Andrea Vicic, Derek Schwabedissen. Back row from   left: D. J. Mills, Dr. Alex Bolinger, advisor.Over the next three months, ISU will compete against universities from as far away as London and China in addition to schools in the United States. Contestants will create manufacturing companies and products, devise real-world business plans, and make computer-simulated decisions that rival those of a Fortune 500 company.

In late April, teams will meet in Anaheim, California where they’ll present their work to judges, who are corporate executives from Southern California.

“I believe the competition will give students the opportunity to learn the nuts and bolts of what it takes to run a successful business,” said ISU assistant management

professor Alex Bolinger, who will mentor the ISU team.

The team—which goes by the company name “BeMed” in reference to ISU’s Bengal mascot and the university’s health care mission—consists of six students working on MBAs or master’s degrees in accounting. Bolinger and Heidi Wadsworth, the COB’s director of graduate studies, recruited applicants last fall, and a faculty committee selected the six team members in November.

“Selecting our team members was a tough process,” Bolinger said. “We had so many qualified candidates.”

ISU team member Andrea Vicic is looking forward to the competition and the opportunity to explore practical applications for business theories and strategies learned in the classroom.

“Group dynamics will be huge. I hope we all get a sense of what it’s like to work successfully on a team,” she said.

In addition to learning about running a business and how to work on a high-performance team, Bolinger says the competition is an excellent opportunity for students to network with business and industry leaders and to test their business acumen against top students from other schools.

“We want this to be a signature experience for our students, an opportunity for them to show that ISU’s best and brightest can compete with anyone in the world,” Bolinger said.

Meet the ISU BeMed team:

The ISU team consists of Andrea Vicic, Connor Pate, Derek Schwabedissen, D.J. Mills, Anil Mandal, and Joe Dobbins.

• Vicic, an MBA student from British Columbia, will serve as BeMed’s marketing vice president. She holds a bachelor’s degree in management and competes in the heptathlon for the ISU women’s track team. In 2014, she received an Outstanding Student Achievement Award from the ISU Alumni Association.

• Pate, an MBA student from Reno, Nevada, is sales vice president. He came to ISU on an athletic scholarship to compete in the pole vault. A multidimensional student with interests in modeling and game theory, he holds an undergraduate degree in economics.

• Schwabedissen, who was raised in Kimberly, Idaho, came to ISU to study pharmacy but switched to accounting. He is company controller. Schwabedissen is a member of the Beta Alpha Psi accounting honor society serves the community by as a volunteer tax preparer.

• Mills, an MBA student, grew up in the Intermountain West and has traveled the world. He graduated from high school in the Philippines and holds an undergraduate degree in health care administration. Mills, who balances grad school and a full-time job in a health care organization, is BeMed’s operations vice president.

• Mandal, an MBA student with an emphasis in computer information systems will serve as BeMed’s chief financial officer. A native of Nepal and an entrepreneur, he raised money to purchase and distribute blankets and warm clothes to poor families and children in his country. He holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry.

• Dobbins, an MBA student, is chief financial officer. He grew up in Mesa, Arizona and completed his undergraduate degree in radiographic science. In addition to his grad school studies, he works as a radiographic technologist and previously owned a real estate investment company in Phoenix, Arizona. He and Bolinger are collaborating on a case study that is under review for publication in the Journal of Case Research.

To learn more about the International Collegiate Business Simulation Competition, go to


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