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International Business Center instills global mindset with annual case competition

By Haley Tran, student writer
Monday, November 14, 2022

Internal case competitions at the Broad College are attracting more and more students who want to challenge themselves and hone their business acumen outside of the classroom. Take the International Business Center (MSU-CIBER), which hosts a case competition that’s the first of its kind to emphasize conducting business on a global scale and developing Broad Spartans’ global mindset.

The second annual International Business Case Competition — open to all Broad undergraduate students — took place Oct. 28 and awarded a total of $4,000 to four winning teams. This year, five teams were given three days to work on a business case, which examined an online file-sharing service platform and changes in the company’s operations in a post-pandemic world. Students worked together to formulate corporate strategies focused on revenue growth, market share, customer segmentation and international expansion.

“Case competitions are extremely valuable for students to apply their classroom knowledge to real-world problems,” Ahmet Kirca, director of IBC and associate professor of international business and marketing, said. “Participating in opportunities like this case competition is exactly what students should be doing to maximize their learning and make the most of their time here at MSU.”

At the culmination of the event, the teams presented their solutions to a panel of industry judges and alumni, including marketing doctoral student Victor Chernetsky; Brendan Prost (B.A. Marketing and Economics ’13), who was president of the International Business Organization during his time at MSU; Sam Schira (B.A. Marketing ’15) and Vlatko Tomic-Bobas (MBA ’22). Each has extensive experience in international business that helped shape their critiques.

“The presentations were engaging and insightful, and each team did thorough research into the company’s service pricing, hybrid working model and international markets,” Chernetsky said. “Their understanding of the case and innovative ideas demonstrated how well-rounded Broad Spartans are.”

Chernetsky has been involved with the competition since its inception, coordinating the event as a supervisor and case coach. Prior to his time at MSU, Chernetsky spent nearly 20 years in marketing and management roles at leading multinational firms across Europe.

When speaking of this year’s winning team, he noted, “They stood out to us with their in-depth analysis of the case and compelling set of recommendations backed by facts and figures. They excelled in the way they handled the case and answered follow-up questions.”

Through collaborating and competing with their peers, these students are on the right track to represent the Broad College and the university on a national and international level at case competitions, and IBC plays a crucial role in preparing them for that.
Ahmet Kirca

The first-place team consisted of juniors Hannah Bagaric, Shravya Ramesh and Ben Stabler and sophomore Luke Boldman. All four are members of Phi Gamma Nu’s Omicron chapter, a co-ed professional development organization at MSU, which helped the team establish a common ground for collaboration.

“It was refreshing to work with people that are my friends and colleagues. With all of us being in Phi Gamma Nu, we already share similar mindsets, career goals and approach to teamwork. We can all agree that our team was the best team we have ever worked in,” Ramesh said. “We formed the team after hearing about the competition in an international business class, and we are so glad we gave it a try. In such a short amount of time, we have gained so much experience and knowledge. This competition allowed us to develop our research and presentation skills, think on our feet and manage our time efficiently.”

Kirca added, “Through collaborating and competing with their peers, these students are on the right track to represent the Broad College and the university on a national and international level at case competitions, and IBC plays a crucial role in preparing them for that.”

The competition is an intentional step put forth by IBC to instill a global mindset for Broad Spartans. Through a recent $1.2 million grant renewal from the U.S. Department of Education, IBC is expanding its student initiatives, like the case competition, through 2026.

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