SBI places first in competition

Monday, a reception was hosted for the three students from Florida A&M University’s School of Business and Industry, which made history on Sept. 15, 2007. The students won first place at the 13th annual National Black MBA Association Case Competition.

This is the first year FAMU was able to participate in the competition, and also the first time a historically black college or university has won. Prior to this year, Hampton University was the closest to winning, completing at second place last year.

Mitchel Brooks, Dominique Drake and Davida Jones were the student participants.

The competition sponsor, New Chrysler, administered real life scenarios to each institution.

Cases required students to analyze the hourly wage and health care benefits offered to workers.

As a result of New Chrysler spending too much on health care, the price of vehicles was on the rise.

FAMU students suggested the company change their health care structure. Drake, a 22-year-old professional MBA student from Cleveland, Ohio said, “[We] were pretty confident, the judges were stumped in the first round.”

The students said going into the competition with no previous experience was beneficial because they were not aware of what to expect at the competition and it pushed them to work harder than many of their competitors.

Brooks, a 23-year-old professional MBA from Washington, D.C. said they used close to 80 power points compared to other institutions that only used 10.

During the first round the institutions were split into six categories, where FAMU was able to compete against Georgetown University, Texas-Christian University, Brandis University and Clark Atlanta University.

In the final round, FAMU went up against five other schools including: Columbia University, Purdue University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Chicago and New York University.

Brooks said he believes this accomplishment is bi-dimensional.

“This speaks volume for an HBCU…this was the first time for FAMU’s SBI and the first time an HBCU has won in the competition’s 13 years,” he said. “This will allow SBI to gain more glory.”

Many of SBI’s faculty, staff and advisors are proud of the achievement.

“It shows how much hard work and dedication pays off,” said Shawnta Friday-Stroud.

Friday-Stroud is a professor of management in the SBI and the co-faculty advisor for the competition.

Joycelyn Finley-Harvey, a professor of management and also a faculty advisor, said this competitive win proves that FAMU students can compete with students of top universities.

Both advisors pushed the students throughout the four weeks of preparations. Friday-Stroud said they often questioned the students’ decisions.

“If they couldn’t back it up, I wouldn’t allow the students to use it,” Friday- Stroud said.

The students said along with skills taught in the SBI, Finley-Harvey and Friday-Stroud gave them a strong framework for the case study.

Prof. Finley-Harvey said the case was judged on creativity and realism.

The information compiled by the students can potentially be used by the New Chrysler Company.

“When we went to present our case, they [the judges] were interested by our answers and results,” said Jones, a 22 year-old- professional MBA candidate from Miami.

Each participant received a check for $1500, a job offer with New Chrysler and Shining Star awards.

The students and faculty advisors said the victory would help to commemorate the memory of the team’s original faculty advisor, the late Sheryl Shivers-Blackwell, 36, who was an associate professor in the division of management in the SBI.