UHV recognizes winners in Spring MBA Conference competitions

The first-place team for the fall Master of Business Administration Conference case competition The first-place team for the fall Master of Business Administration Conference simulation competition
The winning team in the case competition at the University of Houston-Victoria Spring Master of Business Administration Conference consisted of, from left, Ayesha Khan, Pooja Bharati, Sucheta Dabholkar, Meagan Francis, Samira Moghadam and Sandeep Ellankiyil. Taking top prize in the simulation competition at the UHV Spring MBA Conference were, from left, Louis Barrow, Jana Kowalik, Matt Flory, Marina Brown and Jeff Halfen.

SUGAR LAND – Learning to guide a business through both good times and bad is the most important thing Master of Business Administration graduates bring to their employers.

The University of Houston-Victoria School of Business Administration recently honored its top students for using those skills in the Spring MBA Conference at the University of Houston System at Sugar Land, where UHV offers many of the business courses.

Eleven students from two teams took top prizes in the conference, which is the culmination of the Strategic MBA program.  Seventy-five students from the MBA capstone course “Seminar in Strategic Management” competed in the conference.

Two tracks of student competitions are a central part of the MBA conference each semester. The case competition features student teams applying what they learned in the program to real-world business situations. The simulation competition features students attempting to turn struggling businesses into successful, profitable ventures.

“The competitions are an excellent opportunity for students to bring the knowledge and skills acquired throughout the MBA program to bear on a real-world case,” said Farhang Niroomand, dean of the UHV School of Business Administration. “To employers, the value of the MBA lies not in what graduates know, but in what they can do, and the feedback from the competition judges tells us that our MBA graduates are ready to put their education into action in any number of industries.”

Teams participating in this year’s case competition performed analyses on Exxon Mobil Corp.

Teams are evaluated on organization, subject knowledge, quality and use of visual aids, audience interaction, public speaking and teamwork. Since its beginning in 2003, the conference has become a tradition in the business school. A luncheon also is held for the new MBA students.

Top case competition team members were Ayesha Khan and Pooja Bharati of Katy; Sucheta Dabholkar, Meagan Francis and Samira Moghadam, all of Houston; and Sandeep Ellankiyil of Missouri City.

Moghadam said the case competition was a chance to use newly learned business skills passed on from faculty members such as T.T. Selvarajan, an associate professor of management.

“We did lots of research and used all the business concepts we learned in our courses during the MBA program, from finance, to cost management, to economics,” said Moghadam, a Chase bank branch assistant manager in Houston. “It was a team effort, and we all contributed significantly to the project. Even though the project was complex and challenging, with the help of Dr. Selvarajan, we were able to win the competition.”

The winning team in the simulation competition was Louis Barrow and Marina Brown of Houston; Jana Kowalik and Jeff Halfen of Katy; and Matt Flory of San Antonio.

Halfen said his team was the first all-online team to win one of the contests.

“We did most of our work via email and conference calls,” said Halfen, who works as a financial controller at McDermott International in Houston. “We ran a simulated company through eight fiscal years, and we were able to pull together as a team and utilize everything we had learned throughout our studies.”

Winning team members received certificates, and their names will 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.

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.

Ken Cooke 361-570-4342