Bryant students are known for their eagerness to take on a challenge. Recently a team of International Business (IB) majors welcomed the chance to put what they’ve learned at Bryant to the test in an academic case competition hosted by San Diego State University. The Bryant team, calling themselves The Core Four, earned an impressive second-place finish in a field of competitors that included institutions from across the U.S. and abroad.
Participating universities included University of Washington, ITESM Campus Aguascalientes, Illinois State University, University of San Diego, Texas Christian University, Universidad de La Sabana, University of Tennessee, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, and Bryant University.
“We were all well prepared and equipped with the tools to succeed.”
“This achievement is particularly outstanding as this is the first time Bryant participated in the SDSU competition,” says IB Program Director Jacqueline Saslawski, JD, MPIA. A Lecturer of Management, Saslawski mentored the students as they prepared for the competition.
Each team participated virtually and presented via Zoom. The Bryant team's presentation is available online.
The case was complex, a real-world interdisciplinary exercise focused on sustainability that involved management, marketing, information systems, finance, and economics. The challenge: Provide the best solution for a business problem faced by EcoVadis, a company that provides sustainability ratings to help businesses reduce risk, drive performance, and improve in environmental and social outcomes.
The Bryant edge
The students – Maia Correll, Martin Gauba, Nina Grogan, and William Theodoropoulos, all Class of 2021 – were excited to see how well their Bryant education positioned them for success in the contest, and said they enjoyed the competition as much as the results.
“This case competition was a fun and fast-paced way to showcase all the skills we have learned through Bryant’s IB program,” said Grogan. “From Global Foundations of Business to IB Block to IB Practicum [courses], we were well prepared and equipped with the tools to succeed.”
Bryant's IB curriculum requires students to grow academically and then apply their knowledge to real-world scenarios while working in teams and refining their talents. This training offers a competitive advantage, according to the team.
“I, along with my team members, am proud to represent a university that celebrates personal and team development, while providing an encouraging environment to grow our unique skills and capabilities.”
Developing team synergy, a skill honed through classes like IB Block, was key for The Core Four, said Saslawski. As a result, during the competition, “we were each able to step into roles that required tenacity, focus, commitment, and collaboration,” said Correll.
The team had 24 hours to develop a solution, and the clock started ticking the moment they received the case. The deadline didn't fluster the team, however. Because so many IB courses are collaborative, the students worked seamlessly from start to finish, Theodoropoulos said. Correll agreed, adding that “our team had a clear understanding of how to dissect all information, consider multiple perspectives, frame the overall case issue, and pave a clear direction for executing our solution.”
“Our team had a clear understanding of how to dissect all information, consider multiple perspectives, frame the overall case issue, and pave a clear direction for executing our solution.”
Ready to compete
When it came time to present their recommendation, which called for a strategic combination of leveraging AI and human capabilities for optimum growth for the company, the Bryant students’ characteristic determination gave their performance an extra boost.
“Our team was successful not only because Bryant prepared us extensively for real-world situations but because […] top schools from the U.S. and abroad competed, and we wanted to make Bryant stand out,” said Gauba.
“I, along with my team members, am proud to represent a university that celebrates personal and team development, while providing an encouraging environment to grow our unique skills and capabilities,” said Correll.