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School of Global Management and Leadership takes pair of international 'Business Strategy' awards

May 10, 2007

Two teams representing Arizona State University’s School of Global Management and Leadership won “Business Strategy” competition awards in the recent Best Strategy Invitational that featured 176 teams from around the world.

The two-week online competition tested each team’s ability to manage an athletic footwear company in head-to-head competition against companies run by their international peers.  Just as in the real world, companies in the competition battled in a global market arena, selling branded and private-label athletic footwear in four geographical areas – North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, and Europe-Africa.

Champions of the 10-team “Industry 8” group representing “Killaz” were seniors Brandon Newcomb, Leadership and Management; Elizabeth Smith, Accounting; Chris Storm, Leadership and Management; and Abbie Vogel, Finance. Winners of the 10-team “Industry 13” representing “Devilsun, Inc.” were seniors Dustin Hendricks, Marketing; Felicia Kammer, Marketing; Kevin Osbeck, Accounting; and Jennifer Ramirez, Marketing.

The competition is by invitation only and is based on senior students’ semester-long in-class competitions.

“Our strategy in the global competition was to stick to the plan that helped us win earlier in the semester,” said Newcomb, a Killaz team member. “As we plugged along, we watched the other teams begin to flounder. We knew our strategy was solid, and in the end we stepped ahead of the other teams and took the game.

“The competition helped broaden our knowledge about the business world. Not only were we competing against teams from all over the world, but it also gave us the opportunity to experience the challenges executives face when making decisions. The experience will definitely help me in my career."

The challenge for each company’s management team is to craft and execute a competitive strategy that results in respected brand image, keeps their company in contention for global market leadership, and produces good financial performance as measured by earnings per share, return on equity investment, stock price appreciation, and credit rating.  All companies begin the competition on the same footing from a global perspective – with equal sales volume, global market share, revenues, profits, costs, product quality and performance, and brand recognition.

“These are very bright students who successfully integrated material they learned in our classes and put that to work in valuable results-oriented decision making,” said Kathleen Anders, a lecturer in the School of Global Management and Leadership whose topics of instruction include strategy formulation and implementation, benchmarking, competitive strength assessment and strategy options for competing in international markets.

“The competition teaches students to make decisions based upon a thorough analysis of data as well as to apply what they have learned in our business program.  It provides them with experience in decision making from a total-company perspective and gives them a chance to match their management skills against teams – graduate and undergraduate – from universities around the world.”

The 2007 online edition of “The Business Strategy Game” notes that the competition is designed to provide “useful experience and practice in assessing business risk, analyzing industry and competitive conditions, making decisions from a companywide perspective, thinking strategically about a company’s market position and the kinds of actions it will take to improve it, developing strategies and revising them in light of changing conditions, and applying what you have learned in business school.”

Teams from Anders’ classes have been invited to compete since the first Best Strategy Invitational was staged in April 2005.  The competitions are held in April and December each year.  The April competition, which ended May 4, marks the School’s first winning efforts.

“The market and competitive dynamics of the simulation function as a ‘live case’ where students are active participants throughout the semester,” said Anders.  “It is a great way to motivate students and to generate interest in strategy.”