POCATELLO-Six Master of Business Administration and Master of Accountancy students returned home from the International Collegiate Business Strategy Competition in Anaheim, California on Sunday with a first place win for Best Written Documents--including their business plan and annual report--and runner-up honors for Overall Simulation Performance.
“Our students particularly impressed the judges with their annual report,” said Alex Bolinger, associate professor of management and advisor for the ICBSC team. “One of the judges even pulled me aside to explain that it was the best annual report she had come across in her time judging the competition and that it looked like a professional publication.”
Each student on the ISU team held an executive role as part of a simulated business project:
Chief Executive Officer – Curtis Steinfeldt
Chief Financial Officer – Wiebke Boeckmann
Vice President of Production – Kevin Andrus
Vice President of Marketing – Mikel Lozano
Vice President of Sales Forecasting – Holly Powell
Controller – Luke Gilbert
As part of these roles, the team was charged with the task of creating a product in late January, writing a business plan for that company and (utilizing a computer simulation) the students also made strategic decisions weekly, representing quarterly decisions for their company. These decisions were based around business areas like production, research and development, marketing, financing and human resources. After making 12 of these quarterly decisions, the team then created an annual report for their business before undergoing the 48-hour competition in California in which eight final decisions were made based on simulated scenarios.
“The teams were judged on quantitative metrics such as return on investment, debt-to-equity ratio and stock price,” said Bolinger. “Along with their decision-making process, the quality of their teamwork and the quality of their written documents.”
According to Steinfeldt, CEO for the competition, the whole team was surprised upon hearing the announcement of their placement in the challenge. “It was a huge relief initially as we took some major hits in our last two quarters of the competition,” he said, adding that many of the students feared they lost any chance of placing. “But, we were elated when all of our hard work came to fruition as they announced our names as winners… twice- there was really a sense of validation. We had put everything we had into the competition, and it just made sense that as hard as we had worked, we would come home with something to show for it.”
“One of the most important things I learned through this competition was that teamwork is invaluable,” said Steinfeldt. “Personally, I learned the most about leadership and what is really required to direct a group of different personalities, often with competing ideas.”
Sponsored by generous contributions from Idaho Central Credit Union, the ICBSC represents another unique real-world opportunity for College of Business students in which ISU is the only university in the states of Idaho, Utah, Montana and Wyoming that participates in the competition.
“The ICBSC was the preeminent learning experience of my MBA program,” said Steinfeldt. “It was fun, it was intense, it was frustrating. But the personal growth that each of us obtained was well worth it.”
Students in last year’s competition also returned with trophies for Overall Winner, Best Written Documents and Runner-Up for Overall Performance.