The University of New Mexico's Anderson School of Management won the first-ever Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative’s Consortium Case Competition for graduate students held recently in Denver.

Students from the Anderson School placed first in the graduate competition. University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business placed second, and University of Wyoming’s College of Business placed third in the graduate track.

This is the eighth year for the competition but the first year that a graduate student track was added. In past years, the competition was only open to undergraduate student teams. 

The UNM winning team included Daniel Seymour, Shae Zsiga, Julianna Zarasura, Francine Briones, and James Burton.

The Case Competition exposes college students to a thought-provoking business ethics case, similar to a situation that they might face in their professional careers. It is designed to challenge students’ ethical reasoning, give them tools for ethical decision making, and raise awareness of the importance of principle-based ethics.

The UNM team worked on the case for several weeks. They first received a case focused on a fictional company engaged in genetic engineering. This company had numerous ethical and corporate governance problems. After writing an executive summary of their recommendations, the team developed a presentation and supporting materials for a panel of judges playing the role of the company’s board.

Immediately after the first presentation, the team received a follow-up case in which the company faced a crisis, and they had four hours to develop a response and a presentation. The head judge praised not only the quality of their analyses and their presentation skills, but also their courage in being willing to say things that challenged the leadership of the company to live up to higher ethical principles and being willing to walk away from working with the company if it was unable or unwilling to do so.

Harry Van Buren, Anderson Professor of Business and Society, is the team advisor. He calls the win a great accomplishment for the school.

“This was an amazing team to work with,” said Van Buren. “They show the high quality of Anderson students and the MBA program in building excellent analytical thinking and presentation skills as well as the ability to engage in ethical analysis.”

In the undergraduate track, students from University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business were the first place winners. The second place team was from University of Colorado Denver’s Business School, and the third place team was from the University of Wyoming’s College of Business.

Ten teams of undergraduate business students and eleven teams of graduate students participated in this unique competition, designed exclusively for universities that are members of the Daniels Fund Ethics Consortium from Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.