‘We didn’t expect to win’

Several team members place first in case conference for University of Houston-Victoria
Kaveh Moghaddam

Kaveh Moghaddam, associate professor of management

VICTORIA, Texas – On Saturday, May 1, Ambra Frank, Nicholas Guzman, Erik Faeltstroem, Aseya Rehman and Lily Dinsmore won first place in the 28th University of Houston-Victoria Bachelor of Business Administration Case Conference. As part of the competition, the students spent hours each week, for about 14 weeks, researching and discussing various parts of an analysis.

“We were so happy when we received good feedback from the judge’s panel, but we didn’t expect to win,” Frank said. “We just wanted to do the best we could.”

Frank, of Tomball, Guzman, of Corpus Christi, Faeltstroem, of Sweden, and Rehman and Dinsmore, of Cypress placed first for their analysis of the Sysco Corporation, a wholesale restaurant food supplier.

The conference was held through Microsoft Teams by the UHV School of Business Administration. Since 2007, students would enroll every semester in “Strategic Management,” the capstone course of the BBA program. They also attended the conference and participated as teams in the presentation of a company case analysis.

This year, the conference had 149 students in 31 teams. Students presented different analyses of a company to the judges during the virtual conference. The panel of judges were made up of UHV faculty, members of the School of Business Administration Dean’s Advisory Board, various alumni and community members.

According to Kaveh Moghaddam, an associate professor of management who taught the winning team, the students worked on the presentations for the conference all semester.

“The conference provides a setting to further motivate and encourage students to work in teams and strive to bring up their best work,” he said. “It is also a great opportunity for students to improve their presentation skills and gain critical thinking skills and systematic analysis capability.”

During the first step of the presentation, students examined the competitiveness of the firm to distinguish the threats and opportunities. Next, the students examined the strengths and weaknesses of the firm. Finally, the considered potential strategic directions. Moghaddam said the winning team did a great job in all those steps and had an outstanding presentation at the conference.

“It is really enjoyable to see my students performing well at the case competition, and I am very proud of my students,” Moghaddam said. “The BBA conference is a good experience that students can remember for a long time and make them proud of their accomplishments at UHV.”

Frank said during the presentation, the group played to each other’s strengths during the research of each part of the analysis. For example, each member took a part in the presentation related to their field of student. Frank, who is majoring in supply chain management, studied Sysco’s distribution network and expansion by region.

Included in the presentation were the analyses of the company’s political, economic, socio-cultural, technological, environmental and legal factors. The group also focused on internal factors of the company, including leadership, corporate strategies, financial analysis and trends and a strengths and weaknesses analysis.

Considering restaurants and schools were affected by Covid-19, they were no longer placing big orders through suppliers. The group recommended that Sysco switch its focus to selling products to hospitals.

The group members never met in person, but they met virtually to rehearse for the conference many times and felt confident in their presentation. The question-and-answer portion with the panel went smoothly, like a natural conversation, said Frank. Each member was able to answer the question without hesitation.

“This project is great because it really teaches us about teamwork and how to work in teams virtually, which is an important thing to learn since everyone has been working virtually for the past year,” Frank said. “It feels so rewarding because we completed such a large project, and I was lucky because our group got along so well. We’ve all learned great skills for the future to use in our professional lives.”

A list of other teams that placed in the BBA Case Conference are listed below:

Second place (tied) – Nancy Book of Fresno, Candace Courville of Ganado, Monica Rinear of Houston, and Aide Maldonado and Olusegun Olasoji of Katy
Second place (tied) – Mayra Cardenas of Cypress; Anisa Veralin of Victoria; Amberlee Munsch of Weimar; and Jennifer Ochoa, Ashley Robinson and Jessica Anderson of Houston
Third place – Elizabeth Estrada of Victoria and Nichole Murray, Alexandra Hawk and Damon Herrera of Katy.

Shown in the picture clockwise from left are Kaveh Moghaddam, a UHV associate professor of management, and UHV School of Business Administration students Ambra Frank, Aseya Rehman, Nicholas Guzman, Erik Faeltstroem and Lily Dinsmore participate in a Microsoft Teams meeting Saturday during the 28th Bachelor of Business Administration Case Conference. The team members won first place for their analysis of Sysco Corporation.