Campbell Business students win 2019 NASBITE International Case Competition on first try

A team from Campbell University’s Lundy-Fetterman School of Business made history recently on its first appearance in the North American Small Business International Trade Educator (NASBITE) International Student Case Competition. The team of four undergraduates outshone 16 exceptional teams from colleges and universities across the United States and one from Mexico to earn the 2019 NASBITE Student Case Competition Championship.

The competition took place April 8-9 in conjunction with NASBITE’s Annual Conference & Small Business Exporter’s Summit at the Desoto Savannah Hotel in Savannah, Georgia. 

Dylan Blackburn (‘19), Sarah Page (’19), Aaron Schnoor (’21) and Cassie Taylor (’22) met the challenge posed to them by the sponsor and subject company, AdEdge Water Technologies: to identify the best potential foreign market and entry strategy for expansion of the firm’s foreign market share.

With water pollution an acute worldwide problem, the firm’s work to design and manufacture custom treatment solutions that remove contaminants is vital. The AdEdge mission statement and track record is proof that there is no conflict between corporate profitability and corporate social responsibility. Its Core Values, that “… access to safe, clean drinking water is a basic human right,” were built into the Campbell team’s master strategy.

Currently, AdEdge has projects in the United States and 15 foreign countries. In selecting a market for expansion, the team took into account the firm’s Atlanta home base, its direct experience in the marketplace, and information from federal and state resources such as the US Small Business Administration, US Commercial Services, Georgia Small Business Development Center, and others.

In Preliminary Round Presentations on April 8, all 17 teams proposed solutions to the real exporting challenge faced by AdEdge. At a reception and social afterward, four finalist teams were announced – Bradley University, Stetson University, Villanova University, and Campbell University.

Two teams selected Mexico as a potential new market, one recommended Peru-Chile, and the Campbell Business team recommended New Zealand. Having made it to the final four, the Campbell team then worked overnight to refine its export plan and prepare for the Championship Round Presentation the next day.

In crafting their winning Oceana Market Region B2B export strategy, the team closely followed the Case Competition Rubric, focusing on improving AdEdge competitiveness and profitability. They meticulously detailed projects and partners that fit the company’s business model, management commitment, market experience, cash flow capabilities, and capacity, even recommending alternative payment method options. They took into account New Zealand market attributes such as demand and size, ease of entry, and similar business environment.

The Champion Team was announced during an Award Luncheon Ceremony on April 9, narrowly out-executing their formidable competitors to win 1st place and a cash prize of $1,000. Their Champion plaque is now on display at the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business.

School of Business Dean Kevin O’Mara said: “Everyone in the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business is very proud of this accomplishment by these students.  What a tremendous showing.  Our philosophy as a business school is that learning extends well beyond the classroom.  We encourage and support students to participate in conferences, retreats, community service opportunities, pitch competitions, and, of course, case competitions both nationally and regionally.  The benefits to the individual student are immeasurable, as are the benefits to our business school culture.  Winning, as these students did, is an added bonus.”

Virtually unanimously, AdEdge Director of Marketing and Director of Latin American Operations, NASBITE judges, faculty advisors and fellow students praised the Campbell students’ thorough and seamless presentation. Dr. Mike Seibert, Director of the International Business Development Program at the North Carolina Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC), said: “For a student or student team to win a national case competition is a remarkable feat — one which cannot happen without talented students, dedicated faculty, and institutional leadership. All of these things are critical to Campbell University’s commitment to create a rich and rewarding learning environment for their students. Go Camels!”

Professor Shahriar Mostashari, Ph.D., added: “It was a pleasure to work with and accompany Aaron, Cassie, Dylan and Sarah to Savannah. The foursome exemplify a cross section of our gifted, talented, and affable Business School student body. All four are recipients of Presidential Scholarship Awards, and two are members of the newly established BB&T Business Fellows Program. They are a testament to the University’s investment in recruitment, training, and graduating students with exemplary academic and professional skills. They make us very Campbell proud.”  

Mostashari also gave kudos to NASBITE International for organizing the student engagement program, and to AdEdge for sponsoring the Student Case Competition. “What a learning experience for students and faculty alike,” he said, giving special thanks to the SBTDC for its Faculty Liaison Grant, which partially financed the trip, and for Dr. Seibert’s assistance advising the students.  

As the winning competitors summed up their experience, Aaron Schnoor said, “The competition in Georgia gave me an opportunity to develop my public speaking and presentation skills. It also sharpened my ability to think critically, addressing problems that were presented in the case study and creating solutions to those problems.”

Dylan Blackburn reported: “I was honored to be a part of the championship team. I enjoyed working with such capable and intelligent colleagues and learned a lot about international export decisions in the process. I am especially thankful for my economics professor Dr. Mostashari and Dr. Seibert of the Small Business Trade Development Center for sharing their expertise while coaching us for this competition.” 

Cassie Taylor added: “I enjoyed this extraordinary opportunity to meet global business leaders and to learn through experience how a firm conducts export market decisions. The individuals I met during this competition will serve as wonderful connections as I continue in the business field.”

And Sarah Page said, “This competition was an amazing opportunity to use the skills and knowledge I have gained from my classes and experiences to create a comprehensive and relevant plan for a real business. … It tied together skills from all the classes I have taken in the past, like Global Marketing and Advertising, with some of my current classes like Strategic Marketing in order to create a final product. It was amazing to see everything I have learned come together to solve real problems that businesses face every day.”

Go Camels, indeed!