Thursday, February 27, 2020

Student teams from the Tippie College of Business placed first and third at the Fifth Annual Diversity and Business Ethics Case Competition hosted by the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder.

First-place team members included Srilekhya Akkina, Carter Coppinger, Iris Espana, and Jessica Tse. The third-place team members were Smriti Barla, Neah Howlett, Mariah Kluesner, and Guy Renquist.

This year’s case involved a company deciding whether to take a public stance against the anti-Muslim ban that the Trump administration passed and challenged teams to consider the ethical dilemmas, legality, and external and internal stakeholders.

The teams navigated a twist introduced to the prompt after the first day of the competition.

“We were only given about 16 hours to work on this, receiving it at 6:00 p.m. on Friday night and having to present our solution at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday morning,” Coppinger said. “While it was painful only sleeping three hours that night, it definitely was worth it when we learned we won first place.”

Competition rules stated teams could not be coached by faculty or staff after the release of the prompt. However, Assistant Director of Student Leadership Development, Tevin Robbins, and Assistant Director of the Frank Business Communication Center, Mark Petterson, hosted workshop trainings on diversity and inclusion before the prompt’s release to help prepare the teams.

“Something I found to be valuable was getting to learn about various ethical frameworks and how a corporation can incorporate those frameworks when dealing with ethical issues in the workplace,” said senior Srilekhya Akkina. “There are always going to be issues around ethics in the workplace and the answer to solving those issues is not always black and white.”

First-year student Guy Renquist, a member of Tippie Senate, said the most impactful part of his experience was working in a group with educated and motivated peers on a passion project that differed from the typical classroom setting.

The students of both teams agreed that dedication and willingness to help one another were keys to their successes.