Top UHV MBA teams recognized for business analysis

Three University of Houston-Victoria Strategic Master of Business Administration teams were awarded “Best in Class” for their business recommendations about J.C. Penney Co.

Students in the three sections of the MBA capstone course “Seminar in Strategic Management” were divided into groups and tasked with evaluating how a real company operates in internal and external environments. The teams then presented their analyses in class or online.

The winning teams were:

  • Shubha Mantri, Jihan Wells and Michael Wells, all of Katy
  • Mary Foster of Houston, Maegan Lane of Katy, Sharon Lahey of Porter and Roman Yakhin of Victoria
  • Benedict Babaoye of Houston, Diana Codispoti of Houston, Nic Hedrick of Katy and Bobby Watson of Corpus Christi

The “Best in Class” competition took the place of the spring semester MBA Case Conference, which was not held because of space constraints. The three faculty members teaching the Strategic MBA capstone courses thought the team project for internal and external situation analyses, fit analysis, and attainable and measurable recommendations still was a critical element of the class.

Jifu Wang

“Students still need to have the ability to come up with recommended actions, and they need to know how to communicate those actions,” said Jifu Wang, associate dean of the UHV School of Business Administration.

The winning teams did a good job identifying the most critical issues that J.C. Penney faces, Wang said. They were able to match external challenges with internal resources to come up with innovative recommendations. In his class, Mantri, Jihan Wells and Michael Wells were the winners.

“They did a nice job presenting what the company should do,” Wang said. “They had a detailed plan of action. They developed budgeting details, including how much it would cost and what results would happen each year. They even developed three scenarios for normal, worst-case and best-case scenarios.”

Wang’s class is taught face to face, so the teams each made a class presentation. Students who took the online classes taught by Management professor Peggy Cloninger and Ronald Salazar, an associate professor of management, submitted a written project and PowerPoint presentation.

Regardless of format, Wang said the intention was to have students prepare as if they were going to present to a company’s board or top management team.

“You have to persuade and motivate people to support and accept your idea,” Wang said. “Students had to present in such a way to get buy-in. The recommendations should include mission and long-term justifications, objectives, deliverables, milestones, detailed budgeting and projections, risk assessment and contingency plans.”

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.

Jeremy Shapiro