UHV MBA students compete at fall conference, hear from founder of $2 billion hair care company

George Castillo, left, Disa Primus, Umang Joshi, Carolyn Sanders and James Robertson were members of one of the winning teams in the case competition at the University of Houston-Victoria Fall Master of Business Administration Conference. The team studied Apple Inc. for the competition. The top UHV MBA team that analyzed Netflix included members Brenan Drake, left, Steven Madrid, Dora Chen and Kola Komolafe.

SUGAR LAND – Fall graduates of the University of Houston-Victoria’s Master of Business Administration program culminated their studies with a recent case-study competition that included a keynote speech from a prominent Houston businessman.     

Nine students from two teams took home top prizes in the Fall MBA Conference at the University of Houston System at Sugar Land, where UHV offers many of the business courses. The event was capped off with a luncheon and speech by Farouk Shami, founder and chairman of Farouk Systems, makers of CHI and BioSilk hair care products.

Teams of students from the MBA capstone course “Seminar in Strategic Management” analyzed Apple Inc. and Netflix during the fall semester and presented their recommendations at the semi-annual conference. A total of 94 students attended the conference, and many flew in from other states to attend the weekend event.

Taking top honors for the Apple case was a team from a class taught by Rajan Selvarajan, an associate professor of management. Anchoring the team were George Castillo and Carolyn Sanders of Houston; Disa Primus of Missouri City; Umang Joshi of Sugar Land; and James Robertson of Pearland.

Primus found the competition intense and complementary to her work as a senior trade documentation analyst for Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

“The competition was a great experience, and we worked well together,” she said. “Our group worked really hard and put everything we had into the contest.”

Primus, who returned to get her MBA after 10 years in the workforce, found the School of Business Administration’s offerings flexible yet rigorous.

“The classes are intense, but the scheduling was flexible, and the professors know many of us are working professionals,” she said. “What I learned has helped my perspective in my professional life. I was able to immediately apply much of what I learned in my courses at my job.”

Taking top honors for the Netflix case was a team from a class taught by Ron Salazar, an associate professor of management. Team members consisted of Brenan Drake and Steven Madrid of Houston; and Dora Chen and Kola Komolafe of Katy.

Winning team members receive certificates, and their names appear on a plaque in the School of Business Administration main office in Victoria. Members of winning teams are invited to evaluate other MBA students by participating as panelists at future competitions.

Farouk Shami
Farouk Shami, founder and chairman of Farouk Systems hair care company, speaks to UHV students and guests at the Fall MBA Conference.

Shami was invited to the conference as part of the School of Business Administration Distinguished Speaker Series sponsored by the Willis Group – a local staffing and recruiting services firm - and Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

“We were so pleased that Mr. Shami attended the conference and shared his leadership and business knowledge with our MBA students,” said Farhang Niroomand, dean of the UHV School of Business Administration. “These students are ready to take what they have learned in the MBA program from UHV faculty and area business leaders and contribute these skills to a wide range of industries.”

Earlier in the semester, the School of Business Administration hosted the inaugural Willis Group Distinguished Speaker Series event. John Ragan, vice president of NRG Energy, spoke to a packed house of more than 175 students and local business leaders about NRG’s renewable energy projects and the global energy market. 

“The presentation was outstanding and very informative,” said Rohan Thomas, a student in the Strategic MBA program. “The Speaker Series is a wonderful addition to our MBA program.”

The UHV School of Business has more than 1,000 students enrolled in its Strategic and Global MBA programs. The school is accredited by AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. It has been listed by the Princeton Review among itsBest Business Schools, and its online business degree program has been ranked as the sixth best value for consumers in online education by Bloomberg BusinessWeek has partnered with the school to sponsor two annual Teacher of the Year awards and one Researcher of the Year award.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Paula Cobler