Racingdown a professional ski course was just part of the University of Denver’s 2008Race and Case competition, where six Brigham Young University MBA students earned firstplace in the combined skiing and ethics case event.
“Thesestudents have been wonderful representatives of the Marriott School’scommitment to ethical decision-making in business,” said Craig Merrill, MBAprogram director at the Marriott School of Management. “We are very happyfor their accomplishment, and we’re glad they can also make it down a mountain.”
This year’s Marriott School team was composed of Dan Iverson and Kyle Poll, Layton, Utah; Juan Quilantan, Veracruz,Mexico; Michelle Quinn, New Canaan, Conn.; Heather Tucker, Clarkston,Wash.; and Cale Wester, Eagle, Idaho. Since the competition wasestablished in 2004, Marriott School teams have taken first place twice.
The ski challenge was evaluated by the combined timeof the two fastest women and two fastest men on each team. The BYU students tookfourth place in the ski race, which counted for one-third of the total score.The remaining points were awarded for the case portion of the competition,where the BYU team placed first, beating teams from the University ofCalifornia at Berkley, University of Notre Dame and others.
For this year’s case, the teams theoretically representedSolidarity Fund, a development capital fund that invested in Gildan ActiveWear, a T-shirt manufacturing company located in Montreal. After more than fiveyears of collaboration with Gildan, a television program revealed that workersin the company’s Honduras plant were being exploited and fired for showinginterest in forming unions. When the company denied the accusations and refusedto implement new standards, Solidarity Fund had to choose whether to stay inthe company or sell its 11 percent ownership.
“The ethical dilemma was choosing the best option notonly for the fund’s financial future but also for its relationship with thecommunity,” Poll said. “We did not simply want to sell our ownership of the companyto demonstrate our standards for this situation. We felt the business communityneeded to know we left Gildan because of its unethical behavior.”
Even with the team’s chosen strategy to sell Solidarity’sownership of Gildan, the final presentation to the judges became a pivotalfactor in winning the case. As part of the presentation, the team includedshort audio clips in which each of the stakeholders explained their experienceswith Gildan. These included Rosa, a Honduran line worker; Jean, a union workerin Montreal; and Stanley, a Solidarity Fund shareholder.
“We wanted our judges to know the self-interests ofeach of our stakeholders and introduce the reality of their situation,” Tuckersays. “I think doing this not only allowed our knowledge on the subject to comethrough but also our passion to do what was best for everyone involved. Analyzinghow each stakeholder will be affected is an important element of ethical decision-making.”
Writer: Irasema Romero