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Graduate Students Win Four Trophies at International Business Competition

April 30, 2021

Idaho State University’s College of Business Graduate students competed in the 57th annual International Collegiate Business Strategy Competition (ICBSC), taking home four trophies. 

This year was the first time where two teams competed and due to COVID restrictions, the format took place entirely via Zoom instead of in Anaheim, California. 

This competition challenges top-level graduate students from around the world to complete 12 quarters (three years) of simulated business decisions expedited over the course of a semester. After these simulated decisions, students face an intense 72-hour competition against their international peers followed by a formal presentation to executive-level judges from companies throughout the western United States. Each team consists of six executive roles of Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Vice President of Production, Vice President of Marketing, Vice President of Sales Forecasting and Controller.

The first team, with Sophia Perry, Kelsey Breer, Patricia Schmidt, Sierra Ambrosek, Nikole Layton and Gary Rendek, created a furniture company called Metamorphic Interiors and won a trophy for Best Written Documents and received a compliment from one of the judges that their business plan was as good as any he has seen. 

Early on, we struggled with finding the best process to make quarterly decisions efficiently,” Breer said. “As time went on, we found a flow that worked for us to make predictions more exact and decisions much faster. Being flexible and proactive in the workplace is even more important than I ever realized prior to this simulation.”

The second team, with Jeff Morgan, Chase Downs, Courtney Ohr, Marcus Peterson and Marisa Palermo, created a game company named Gem Games that provided digitized cornhole boards that could be paired with a smart device, allowing players to play together if separated. They won a total of three trophies for Best Written Documents, Best Presentation and Runner-Up, Overall Performance. 

“We faced a number of challenges, or at least what we thought were challenges, such as losing a team member early on in the competition, as well as decisions that we had to adapt and learn from,” Morgan said. “However, in the end I think that we realized that these obstacles were only setbacks that ended up creating a stronger more cohesive group by the end of the competition.”

The teams run under the guidance of co-advisors, Dawn Konicek, Professor of Accounting and Alex Bolinger, Associate Professor of Management. 

“I am so impressed by how well both of our teams navigated those challenges and how adept they have become at collaborating via web conferencing software,” Bolinger said. “On top of all the other insights that you might expect from participating in a business simulation, our students got a lot of practice (probably more than they wanted) with working as a team in a remote environment.”