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BYU business teams win top awards at two national competitions

Two teams of Brigham Young University business students brought home honors from their first-ever appearances at two major national competitions.

Brigham Young University information systems students earned top marks in their first appearance at the recent National Collegiate Conference in West Lafayette, Ind. Two of the six students from BYU's Marriott School of Management scored among the top three in individual competitions.

And, despite being one teammate short, arriving at the competition with only five minutes to spare and having to begin planning their case in a car by flashlight, a team of three students from BYU's Marriott School recently placed second at an international business ethics competition.

At the information systems competition, Ryan Caldwell, a junior from El Paso, Texas, placed first out of 200 students on the information systems core examination and second on the Web development examination. Shaun Smith, a senior from Central, Ariz., placed third in the Java programming contest.

"Our students represented BYU very well, especially considering this is the first time BYU participated at the NCC," says Lynn McKell, professor of information systems.

The conference, sponsored by the Association for Information Technology Professionals, spanned three days and included a career fair that offered students numerous job interviews, internships and job offers with leading industry organizations. More than 560 students representing 84 schools attended this year's conference hosted at Purdue University.

"Attending the conference was a great experience," Caldwell says. "The problems we solved were based on real-life scenarios. Solving them and competing against other students and universities showed us ways the program could be enriched and better prepare students for the workplace."

The Marriott School has offered a major in information systems since fall 2002.

"I think it was good for our students to realize the level of expertise other programs are giving their students," McKell says. "They gained a sense of what kind of competition they'll have when they enter the workforce."

The business ethics team consisting of Isaac Appiah, Rick Bingham and Marcie Holloman competed against four-person teams from 14 other universities at the Net Impact 2003 International Case Competition hosted by the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

This was also the first time BYU has sent a team to the competition.

"We went there a little unsure about what to expect. We were given a case that included an ethical dilemma and told to report back at 9 the next morning with a 20-minute PowerPoint presentation," says Appiah, a second-year MPA student from Cape Coast, Ghana. "We got there at 6:40 p.m. The cases were handed out at 6:45 p.m. Then we had an hour and a half drive to the place we'd arranged to stay."

Team member Rick Bingham, a first-year MBA student from Centerville, Utah, had mixed feelings when the team advanced to the finals.

"The lowest point for me was when we were announced as finalists," Bingham says. "I had been up all night and was ready to just sit back and watch the other presentations. When they announced we were finalists, my heart sank because I knew we would have no rest until we presented again."

Writer: Andrew Watson, (801) 422-1512

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