Bauer Honors Students Get Hands-On Experience at ConocoPhillips Case Competition
This spring, ConocoPhillips gave 75 pre-business students from the C. T. Bauer College of Business the opportunity to participate in a case competition that emphasized building leadership, communication and teamwork skills.
The ConocoPhillips Concerto Case Competition challenged participants, all members of the college’s Bauer Business Honors Program, to first learn from a series of workshops before a final series of presentations to a panel of professionals from the company.
The students attended weekly workshops designed to build skills needed to succeed in the competition and the business world. Bauer Accounting Clinical Assistant Professor Barry Teare gave students an introductory overview of accounting for the oil and gas industry.
“Professor Teare’s workshop was career-changing for me,” freshman Giona Vodo said. “I have that one essential workshop to thank for a more open mindset of the possibilities in the accounting world.”
Consultants from the UH Writing Center helped the students craft and polish their executive summaries. Bauer College’s Leadership Initiatives staff members provided training on effective presentation skills.
Armed with the knowledge gained from these workshops, the students set out to analyze several aspects of ConocoPhillips, including its global presence, commitment to diversity, corporate strategy and critical accounting policies.
As sophomore Andrew Cathcart learned about the diversity of ConocoPhillips and its advantages to the company, he reflected on how this affected his own team.
“Not only did our team come from cities across the nation, but each of us is unique in our ethnicity, background and personality,” Cathcart said. “A diverse team that draws in members with different backgrounds and skills will always outperform those who look for one quality or trait.”
The competition also required students to analyze the company’s financial statements in order to identify potential areas of risk for the company.
“The 180-page ConocoPhillips 10-K is a daunting piece of accounting work in the eyes of a student with such a preliminary knowledge of accounting,” freshman Christian Madison said. “It is inspiring to think that I may one day be skilled enough to work on such a project, and this inspiration prompted me to work even harder on this case study.”
The hard work of all of the teams paid off as the 15 teams of five students presented to ConocoPhillips professionals. The judges awarded $1,500 to each of the top three teams. Members of the three winning teams included Domonique Champion, James Hammock, Lauren Hauser, Laura Mahaney, Ashti Zaidi; Oscar Leija, Stacey Nguyen, Acha Nwabara, Giona Vodo, Alan Williams; Zainab Dhanani, Iram Nandolia, Chris Tobar, Inga Vogel and Leslie Zorzi.
The experience was one that left a lasting impression on the students.
“The ConocoPhillips Case Competition gave me hands-on experience with real world business skills and situations,” junior Johnathan Moore said. “I learned how to handle effective business writing and also how to work efficiently in a team. These are skills I will be able to use in the classroom and in the professional environment and for that, I am truly grateful.”
By Sarayu Sundar