SC State Business Students Win First Place at National Black MBA Competition

From left: Tyree McDonald, Brandi McCoy, Ariana Ruiz, Trevon Andrews

SC State University students in the School of Business won a $15,000 first place prize, claiming victory over several other distinguished colleges and universities in the 2018 National Black MBA Association’s Undergraduate Case Competition, which convened Sept. 26-28 in Detroit, Michigan. The SC State team won third place at the competition in 2016 and second place in 2017, ultimately making its way to the top.

When the students were announced as winners, they knew all of their hard work had paid off.

“I shot out of my seat with my teammates and immediately shouted ‘Yes!'” said senior agribusiness major and team leader, Trevon Andrews.

Teams of students from colleges and universities across the country, with more than half representing historically black colleges and universities, were given one month to analyze a complex business case to demonstrate their problem-solving skills, and present their findings to a panel of executives from leading corporations and academic institutions.

For this year’s case, SC State students proposed a new credit card for the Chase Sapphire portfolio. Their proposal included a strategy centered around the Chase Sapphire Future card, which would target teenagers, ages 13 – 17. The Future card would be owned by parents and spending would generate educational rewards that would go into a 529 college savings fund. The 529 College Savings Plan is a tax-advantaged savings plan that was created under the Internal Revenue Service Code and sponsored by individual states.

Going into this year’s competition, the students carried the pressure of earning second place last year, but pulling off the pivotal win this year proves their preparedness to contribute to the ever-changing world.

“The case competition taught me a lot about making sure that once I have a good idea, stick with it,” said Brandi McCoy, a senior agribusiness major. “When I am meeting with executives such as CEOs, presidents and vice presidents, having all the information I need, and having a team that is cohesive and willing to work is paramount,” she continued.

Preparing for the competition took countless hours of research, collaboration and rehearsal. Andrews, McCoy, senior agribusiness major, Ariana Ruiz and Tyree McDonald, junior management major as the team’s alternate, pushed through many challenges to make it to the competition, as the aftermath of Hurricane Florence did not stop them. They were extremely focused on winning.

Andrews claimed a special award as Best Presenter.

“We got so detail-oriented that we nit-picked every financial calculation and even adjusted the graphics so that they were accurate representations of the data,” Andrews said. “This was hands down, the best real-world preparation experience within the school of business,” he continued.

“I am so proud of our students. The performance of our students is evidence that we are providing a quality management education and leadership development program that prepares our students to successfully compete among the best,” said Dr. Barbara Adams, dean of the School of Business.

According to Adams, the $15,000 prize will provide scholarships to each of the participants on the winning team.

Since 2015, the National Black MBA Association has hosted the undergraduate case competition during its annual conference.

This hands-on student consulting experience provides undergraduates with early exposure to MBA-level business case strategy and allows them to be considered for competitive summer internships and employment opportunities.

“Mrs. Ellen Ricoma, MBA Director, did an excellent job in working with the students to prepare them for the competition,” Adams said.

Sixteen institutions competed in the competition. Clark Atlanta University placed second, Bethune-Cookman University placed third and Alabama State University placed fourth.

For more information, contact Dr. Barbara Adams at (803) 536-8980 or [email protected]

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