MBS Students travel to California for international competition

Ten MBS students participated in one of the world’s most comprehensive collegiate business competitions — a semester-long, two-part challenge that culminated in Anaheim, California in April.

The annual International Collegiate Business Strategy Competition requires students to run a simulated manufacturing company. Participants name their company and choose a product to sell for around $10. Throughout the semester, they produce an annual report and business plan before presenting to a panel of judges, including business executives and educators.

MBS sent two teams of five students to the event that included participants from business schools in the U.S. and around the world.

The simulated companies from MBS were Maine Cut, which made cribbage boards; and Scentsations of Maine, which produced high-end environmentally conscious candles.

Members of Maine Cut were Camille Cramer, who served as CEO; Tyler Morin, CFO; Sarah Marshall, CMO; Jeffrey Rogers, COO; and Zebediah Letourneau, VP of Human Resources. Members of Scentsations of Maine were Jacob Stutzman, CEO; Molly Finn, CMO; Jamie Rowe, COO; Rickhia Paulson, CFO; and Nipun Vaidya, CAO.

“The competition was an amazing experience,” says Stutzman ’17, a finance and marketing major with a concentration in management information systems. “It allowed us to apply all the business knowledge we had learned over the years in a way that we had never done before. Instead of just learning about business concepts, we actually were able to put them to use.”

The students, including management major Cramer ’16, say they enjoyed having the opportunity to hone their critical thinking and communications skills while collaborating with other motivated MBS students.

“I learned how to effectively function on a team, delegate, prioritize and think long-term about strategic business decisions that I may soon have to make in the real world,” says Cramer.

Faculty advisers were management professor John Mahon and associate professor of entrepreneurship Jason Harkins, who accompanied the students to California. Harkins says the teams were engaged and learned a lot about running a business.

“This is a terrific and unusual opportunity for our students to exercise their advocacy and analysis skills in an international competition,” Mahon says. “It reflects our view to bring international experiences to all of our students.”

Beginning in February, teams were required to make quarterly decisions for three simulated years about price, marketing, salary, transportation and inventory. They shared their decisions online according to deadlines that occurred with increasing frequency over a 10-week period.

Their choices determined the situation their company faced for each subsequent set of decisions.

While in California, students completed their quarterly decisions and presented to the judges.

“The competition tied in every class I have taken at MBS,” says Marshall ’16, a marketing major. “We were able to apply the foundational skills we learned in our classes to make assumptions and judgments for our simulated business. This is something that will be invaluable in the real world.”

Morin ’16, a finance major with a concentration in management information systems, says the realistic competition was exciting, yet challenging.

“I found out that it can be hard to recover from a few small mistakes and that they can follow you through the competition,” Morin says.

Rogers ’16, a Bangor, Maine, native who is majoring in finance and financial economics, was in charge of production scheduling and sales forecasting for Maine Cut.

“Understanding that every change and decision you make in a business can affect all other working aspects was an eye-opening take away,” he says.