Bauer MBA Students Among Top Three Finalists In Executive Leadership Foundation Business Case Competition

Published on April 10, 2014

Team “Unfamiliar With Limitations” Will Present Plan for Common Core State Standards Implementation in May for $35,000 Scholarship

Bauer MBA students (from left) Rudolph Pierson, Eberechi Adieze, Rachel Flye and Larry Hay will compete on May 2 for up to $35,000 in scholarships in the final round of the Executive Leadership Foundation’s 2014 Business Case Competition.

Bauer MBA students (from left) Rudolph Pierson, Eberechi Adieze, Rachel Flye and Larry Hay will compete on May 2 for up to $35,000 in scholarships in the final round of the Executive Leadership Foundation’s 2014 Business Case Competition.

A team of four MBA students from the C. T. Bauer College of Business will compete in May for $35,000 in scholarship prize money after recently being selected as one of three national finalists in the Executive Leadership Foundation (ELF) 2014 Business Case Competition.

UPDATE, May 8, 2014: The ELF case competition team was awarded third place and a $15,000 scholarship on May 2. The team also had an opportunity to meet with ExxonMobil executives and recruiters during the competition to be considered for internships and entry-level employment opportunities with the company.

Larry Hay, Eberechi Adieze, Rachel Flye and Rudolph Pierson, all second-year students in the Bauer MBA program, are examining best practices for organizations to implement Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the newest form of education standards in the United States.

The team prepared their proposal, “Inspiring Success through Common Core,” in the initial round of competition, which drew participation from students from 75 universities across the country in a blind submission. Competitors were charged with writing a paper on how CCSS address economic inequalities and deficiencies in the current education system to ensure a diverse and qualified workforce. Students were asked to address concerns and barriers for states that have not yet adopted the CCSS.

“We didn’t know much about this topic when we began preparing for the first round of competition,” Hay said. “What we discovered through our research is just how severely our American education system is falling behind our global competitors. This competition allows us to ask how we can help turn this problem around.”

In the final round, the students will present their paper to a panel of judges and compete against the other two finalists, Emory University and Washington University.

Diversity has been key in the success of the team, Adieze said, noting the diverse backgrounds of the students and their coach, Bauer Associate Professor of Management Carla Jones, who also coached Bauer’s 2012 Executive Leadership Foundation team. The 2012 student team won first place in the finals of the competition.

“We all bring something different to the table through our studies here at Bauer,” Adieze said. “Our diversity is the key to our success, but also our coach Carla Jones, who we can never give enough credit to. She has really helped us think outside the box.”

Clyde McNeil, who was part of the 2012 Bauer team, served as a “sounding board,” Hay said, providing feedback and motivation instrumental to the current team’s success.

The team will present their plan during the finals competition on May 2 for an opportunity to win $35,000 in scholarship prize money, as well as have the chance to implement their plan with the CEOs attending their presentation.

“The opportunities of the ELF case competition have no limits on how far we can go. In order to be successful and win, we can’t set limitations on what we can achieve,” Hay said. “Bauer has helped us prepare for this through our courses and case studies in our respective MBA programs. We are more than prepared.”

The ELF competition, sponsored by ExxonMobil, began in 2002 as a part of higher education initiatives of the Executive Leadership Council (ELC). The ELC is a national organization comprised of current and former African-American CEOs and senior executives at Fortune 500 and equivalent companies.

By Danielle Ponder