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BYU MPA students win first place at Utah case competition

Hosted by Utah City Managers Association

Brigham Young University Master of Public Administration students won first place at the third annual Utah City Managers Association Case Competition held April 7-9 in St. George, Utah.

“This is a competition I look forward to each year,” says Rex Facer, assistant professor of public finance and management and the team’s faculty adviser. “Not only does it give our students exposure to a room full of potential employers, but it also gives them the opportunity to put to practice what they learn in the MPA program and apply the teachings to real-world situations.”

The annual event pits in-state MPA programs against each other; Southern Utah University and the University of Utah also competed. Students had one month to analyze a local management scenario — in this case whether or not a city should continue contracting its law enforcement through the county or if it should start its own police department. Each team sent three representatives to present their case to a panel of Utah city managers, who played the role of the fictional city council.

“I’m very proud of our students,” Facer says. “These students were serious in their preparation and showed that BYU MPA students can compete at the highest level.”

More than a dozen students worked together to develop BYU’s strategy. The presenters chosen to represent BYU were Robbie Jackson, a second-year MPA student from Boise, Idaho; Heber Lefgren, a first-year MPA student from Garland, Utah; and Michelle Roberts, a first-year MPA student from Herndon, Va.

Lefgren said the team’s success was due to the contributions of numerous classmates during the final stages of preparation. Team members conducted research, prepared slides for the presentation and gave critical feedback to the three presenters.

“When I told one of the presenters from another school that more than 15 people significantly participated on our project, he was shocked,” Lefgren says. “He could not understand how that many people could work well together to complete one project.”

The Romney Institute of Public Management was named in 1998 for three-term Michigan Governor George W. Romney. Part of the Marriott School of Management, the Romney Institute offers a master’s degree in public administration through both pre-service and executive programs.

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Writer: Arie Decker


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