By Casandra Nguyen, ’15
St. Bonaventure’s Family Business Club was recognized for its innovative and unique case solutions and delivery at the globally renowned Family Enterprise Case Competition (FECC). The event was held from Jan. 8 to 11 at the University of Vermont.
Members of the club who participated in the event were Vikas Kotha, Benjamin Marcus, James Rynone and Dr. Carol Wittmeyer, associate professor of management and adviser of SBU’s Family Business Club.
There were 19 teams from nine different countries fighting for one of the two Family Enterprise Cups. International competitors swept the majority of the awards, but SBU came out on top with the sole creativity award in the undergraduate division.
The competition consisted of four challenging rounds. Each team presented their case findings to a panel of judges who then determined which group comprehended, analyzed and presented the most convincing case study.
The SBU team changed their presentation styles and PowerPoint presentations throughout the competition. Judges were impressed by their confidence and ability to change styles during the team’s first appearance at the competition.
“The event was eye-opening,” said Kotha, a senior biology major and business administration minor. “You see certain things in a classroom, but you don’t know how they apply in real life until you are actually in a position to apply it. It was beneficial because it’s going to make the classroom-to-real life transition smoother.”
Each member of the SBU team has a background in family business and has goals of carrying out their individual family businesses. They were forced to connect with the panel of judges on a professional level, but did not struggle when it came to talking about their personal family backgrounds.
“It was a great experience for us to meet and become friends with peers from around the world,” said Wittmeyer, coach of the team. “Teams approached the same case from very different viewpoints, which helped all of us get out of our Bona Bubble and understand there can be many ways to view, identify and solve a problem. It was particularly exciting to watch our team transform daily from one presentation to the next. They represented the true Bonnie’s spirit of competing, sorting out better strategies for the next round and getting right back into the game.”
“The event was beneficial, and I would do something similar again if the opportunity was there,” said Marcus, a junior management major. “It taught professionalism, and it helped me better my presenting skills. I hope to own and run my own business someday and this will help me realize my goal.”
The club is willing to compete again with the skills that they acquired over the four-day competition.
“I would like to do a competition like this again,” said Rynone, a junior management major. “It was fun to see our team progress throughout the week and how much better we were when we left, opposed to when we arrived.”
The trip was made possible thanks to a gift from Betty Ramming.
"The team is grateful to Betty for remembering her late husband, Alan Ramming, ’63, owner of their family business Electro Abrasive Corporation, by supporting the team’s participation," Dr. Fischer said.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. We are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition. Our students are becoming extraordinary.
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