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ISU College of Business MBA students take home two trophies from International Collegiate Business Strategy Competition in Anaheim

May 2, 2016

After hundreds of hours of work and two very intense days in competition in Anaheim, California, a team of Idaho State University Master of Business Administration brought home two trophies from the 52nd International Collegiate Business Strategy Competition held April 23-24.

The team won a trophy for Overall Winner, Best Written Documents for the team’s business plan and annual report, and a second trophy for Runner-Up for Overall Performance.

The annual ICBSC event, sponsored by California State University at Long Beach, includes teams of students from business schools around the globe. This year’s team from ISU included College of Business students Russell Hill, Sekhar Dahal, Jennifer Donaldson, Erin Gitau, Chelsea Izatt and Justin Lloyd. Their advisers were Alex Bolinger, assistant professor of management, and Dawn Konicek, assistant professor of accounting.

Students began competing in early February using a computerized simulation that allowed them to compete with teams from other schools in the United States, Canada, England and China. Each team made weekly “quarterly” strategic decisions about sales forecasting, production capacity, marketing expenditures, financing of operations, managing exchange rates and transfer costs for production facilities overseas, as well as training and research and development. Additionally, each team was responsible for writing a full business plan for its company and an annual report to update shareholders on the company’s progress.

As part of the competition, student teams are tasked with coming up with their own unique product. For the purposes of the competition, ISU’s team created a flashlight designed to turn on using only body heat.

The team members partnered with an ISU electrical engineering student, senior Jacob Talley, who built a prototype model that team members demonstrated for the judges. The model resembled a typical flashlight, but included ceramic plates called “peltier devices.” Beneath these plates is the aluminum core. Once this core is touched the temperature differential between the temperature of the hand and the aluminum generates voltage, powering the light.  

“I can’t say enough about how hard the students on our ISU team worked all semester to succeed in this competition,” said Bolinger. “To see their efforts recognized and rewarded was very satisfying. But I am most proud about a comment by one of the judges, who told our team members that she appreciated the culture they had created and theirs was the company she would like to work for if she were a prospective employee.”

Hill was the CEO for the company.

“This competition has been an incredible experience, and we are grateful for this opportunity that Idaho State University has provided to us this semester,” Hill said. “To be recognized in California for all our hard work was special, and we are proud to bring home two trophies, including a first-place trophy for our written reports. The trophies are a reflection of the quality of students and professors found at the College of Business.”

Even more valuable than the trophies, though, are the experiences the team had, he said.  The competition enabled the team members the opportunity to apply everything they have learned from their school programs.

“Most importantly, this competition has allowed me the privilege to work with an amazing team,” Hill said.  “They all are truly world-class, and it was humbling to work with them on a consistent basis. Also, Dr. Alex Bolinger and Dawn Konicek are incredible advisors.  The time and dedication they put into the competition helped us immensely. They are amazing professors, and they were instrumental in creating an incredible experience for us.”

The ICBSC began in the mid-1960s to provide top-level university students with the opportunity to experience what it is like to run their own company without having to risk their own money. In 2015, ISU College of Business students participated in the ICBSC for the first time in more than a decade and took home a pair of trophies. Last year’s MBA team consisted of Conner Pate, DJ Mills, Andrea Vicic, Derek Schwabedissen, Anil Mandal and Joe Dobbins.

ISU’s participation in the competition is funded by gifts from generous donors. Anyone who is interested in contributing expertise or financial resources to this program is urged to contact Bolinger at boliale2@isu.edu or Mark Arstein at arstmark@isu.edu