The Campbell Challenge Case Competition marks the end of the MBA 790-Strategic Management “Live Case” Seminar class. One of the best examples of the intersection of Campbell University’s mission and the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business commitment to service, professional development and cooperation with Campbell stakeholders, the class fosters experiential learning in students.
This spring, 32 students enrolled in the capstone course and formed teams that each worked hands-on with a small to mid-sized business registered with the North Carolina Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC). Their charge: to analyze and understand their company’s market potential and identify opportunities to improve competitiveness and profitability.
“This course represents the MBA version of a medical doctor residency requirement,” said SBTDC Director Mike Seibert. “Taking a scholar-practitioner approach, students must learn and practice technical skills, interpersonal skills, and consulting skills over a rigorous eight-week course. For most, this course represents the MBA student’s first experience with establishing a trusted advisor relationship with a real client-company.”
Early on, each team received scoring rubrics and format guidelines for the written case analysis and oral presentation they would later give to the class and a faculty review panel. They also presented their award-winning case to the University community at the 9th Annual Wiggins Memorial Library Academic Symposium on Wednesday, March 20.
Professor Shahriar Mostashari announced the winners of the 2019 First Place Campbell Challenge Award (William Jones, Jarred Lisec, Taylor Schmaltz, Trevor Thornton and Liangshuo Xu), complimenting their outstanding small business consulting and mastery of “the three must-have skills: technical, interpersonal, and consulting.”
MBA Trust major Trevor Thornton said: “To recognize the usefulness of the knowledge and skills that I’ve acquired throughout the MBA program is one thing, but to actually put them to use is another. I am thankful for Dr. Seibert and Dr. Mostashari for making this opportunity possible and I am thankful for my team for pursuing this opportunity alongside me.”
He added his thoughts on what drove the team to its win: “We functioned cohesively, playing off of one another’s strengths and ideas,” Thornton said. “The swath of knowledge in the team was important, but not nearly as important as our capacity to discuss and generate ideas effectively as a collective. I think that our fluidity and collaboration was the driver of the success of the project.”
Trust major Taylor Schmaltz agreed. “As a team, we were able to establish a collaborative consulting relationship with the owner almost immediately and were successful in identifying numerous strategic opportunities for the improvement of her business’s competitiveness and profitability,” she said. “The class was a great opportunity not only to help a local business with the skills we developed in the MBA program, but also to develop a meaningful relationship with the owner.”
There is little question that the client appreciated the team-driven, case-study approach. She said, “First, I believe they framed their criticism in positive ways, which I think speaks to their communication training or personal effectiveness. They maintained an upbeat attitude during the whole process, which created a lot of hope for me. I thought their recommendations were creative and helpful. Great follow-up to our meetings that organized me.”