FAMU business students bring home a second win

Three professional MBA students from Florida A&M University’s School of Business & Industry won first place trophies and $15,000 in scholarship money from the National Black MBA Association.

John Hinson, Jr., 23, Lia Naomi White, 21, and Tiffani Davis, 22, competed against students from some of the nation’s top business schools.

They managed to place first in the NBMBA’s National Case Competition held in Washington D.C., making FAMU the first school to garner consecutive wins in the competition’s 14 year history.

On Wednesday, the three-person team and their co-advisers, professors Joycelyn Finley-Hervey and Shawnta Friday-Stroud left for the competition.

During Thursday’s preliminary round, university teams from various schools were assigned to one of five brackets.

FAMU’s team was placed in a bracket with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Rochester, Ohio State University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Clark Atlanta University.

After presenting their analysis of the case and making recommendations, the team beat out the other teams in their bracket and advanced to the finals. Teams from Purdue University, the University of Tennessee, Brandeis University and the University of Texas at Austin joined them.

Of that group, the University of Tennessee took home second place, the University of Texas at Austin took home third and FAMU remained champions for the second year in a row.

In a statement released by the NBMBA Web site, Kim Harris Jones, Chrysler’s Senior Vice President and Corporate Controller and Auditor, said, “… students from Florida A&M delivered a sound analysis and unique solution that rose to the top to once again capture first place. The students displayed an impressive grasp of global business dynamics as it relates to this year’s challenging case.”

Finley-Hervey described the elation surrounding the team’s win.

“It was exceptional! The energy level was amazing and it was a moment of sheer delight (knowing) we have made history again,” Finley Hervey, said co-adviser. “It was very interesting, the team seemed to be calmer in the finals then they were in the semi-finals. They knew what they were presenting was quality work, so they were confident.”

She added that after commending the other faculty members, who were instrumental in the team’s success, they would focus on making their involvement in next year’s case competition a “three-peat victory.”

Finley-Hervey also said the team’s performance was “truly a tribute to Dr. Sheryl Shivers-Blackwell,” who she credits with motivating the students to give their best.

Shivers-Blackwell, an associate professor in the division of management, passed away in July 2007.

“She was the first faculty advisor,” Finley-Hervey said. “However because of her untimely death, she was unable to see that commitment through, so we dedicate each year’s competition to her memory.”