A team from Eastern Wyoming College (EWC) recently won the second annual Wyoming Collegiate Business Ethics Case Competition (WCBECC) hosted by the University of Wyoming College of Business’ Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Collegiate Program. Seven Wyoming community colleges were invited to compete.
EWC team members were Ryan Swan, of Casper; Matthew Veen, of Littleton, Colo.; and team captain Jonathan Pieper, of Mitchell, Neb. Ellen Creagar, a professor of business law and social sciences, and Jennifer Minks, an associate professor of business, both from EWC, advised the team.
“Professor Minks and I started working with the team in January with sample case studies provided by the UW College of Business. The students used those to familiarize themselves with the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative principles,” Creagar says. “When we received the actual case study, Ryan, Matt and Jonathan took off with it. It was such a treat to work with this team. Not only are they among the best and brightest students at EWC, but they also are very competitive individuals with high goals. They set out to win, and they did.”
Second-place winners were Kerrie Metcalf, of Riverton, and team captain Jessie Witlock, of Kinnear. Both are students at Central Wyoming College (CWC). CWC faculty members Tamara Forbis, an assistant professor of business, and David Hood, an associate professor of business management, advised the team.
Third-place winners were Emma Merrill, of Laramie, and team captain Zander Blue Cline, of Cheyenne. Both are students at Laramie County Community College (LCCC). Danielle Adams, an instructor of accounting and business at LCCC, advised the team.
The competition, which took place April 8, is the brainchild of Kent Noble, UW’s Bill Daniels Chair of Business Ethics, and Chase Thiel, a UW associate professor of management and the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Collegiate Program Professor of Business Ethics. The goal of the event is to provide student teams a space to practice and hone their business ethics skills. Judges for the 2022 WCBECC were Kenna Noble, a UW alumna and current UW law student from LaGrange; Michael Blaney, a freelance designer; and Grant Asay, an auto shop owner.
“Ethics case competitions are a great way for students to take what they have learned in the classroom and apply it to real-world business situations. The decisions and recommendations the teams must make are challenging, and sometimes there are negative consequences regardless of what they decide,” Kent Noble says. “Students also must hone their writing and presenting skills to effectively convey their case to a panel of judges. The winning team must identify a solution that is practical, in addition to ethical and legal. This year’s winning team did just that.”
“It was a cool experience to not only learn about something new, but also to present what we learned to other people by putting ourselves into the characters of a consulting team,” says Swan, a freshman. “I thought it was a really fun experience overall.”
The preparation for the competition was interesting because the team did not know what to expect and what the judges would be looking for, says Veen, a sophomore.
“It was a good opportunity to think about business in a way that a lot of individuals don’t while also being able to enhance my public speaking skills and do something our school has never done before,” says Pieper, a sophomore.
Each member of the EWC team received $300. The WCBECC $500 faculty adviser stipend, intended for use by Creagar and Minks, will go to EWC to help cover costs of the course.
“The teams that competed this year should be very pleased with their performances. The students and their faculty advisers did a nice job of using principle-based ethics to address the issues in this case,” Kent Noble says. “We are already looking forward to working with our community college partners in next year’s case competition.”