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 Date: January 14, 2010 Contact:  Paula Cobler, 361-570-4350

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UHV business students shine at MBA Conference


 

The first-place team for the fall Master of Business Administration Conference case competition Students walk to class at the University of Houston-Victoria in the late 1980s
The first-place team for the fall Master of Business Administration Conference case competition at the University of Houston-Victoria included, from left, George Thomas of Cypress, Chunlu Chuang of Houston, Aly Mazen of San Antonio, Shefali Aggarwal of Pecos and Kadima Agostinho of Katy. The winning team of the first MBA simulation competition at the UHV fall MBA Conference included Kenneth Hester of Spring, Narayanan Kavilveedu of Katy, Ashish Gupta of Houston and Shailaja Thakkar of Missouri City.

 

More than 70 business graduate students at the University of Houston-Victoria recently got to show off all their skills at the semiannual Master of Business Administration Conference in Katy.

 

The conference, which first was held in 2003, is the culmination of the UHV School of Business Administration’s MBA program. Students enrolled in the Seminar in Strategic Management, the program’s capstone course, attend the event, which includes a luncheon in their honor.

 

“At the heart of the conference is the case competition, which provides MBA students with the opportunity to apply everything they’ve learned in the program to real-world business situations,” said Jane Mims, director of student services.

 

Teams participating in the case competition this semester prepared original business case analyses on Proctor & Gamble, she said. The teams were evaluated on several criteria, including organization, subject knowledge, quality and use of visual aids, audience interaction, public speaking and teamwork.

 

The first-place team included George Thomas of Cypress, Chunlu Chuang of Houston, Aly Mazen of San Antonio, Shefali Aggarwal of Pecos and Kadima Agostinho of Katy. The second- place team included Nelson Alfonzo, formerly of Houston, Eulalia Ramirez of Sugar Land, Henry Padron of Katy, Hector Vasquez of Pearland and Roseline Bankole of Houston. The third- place team was made up of Mary-Clare Cook of Houston, Michael Jones of Ingleside, Alexandra Neeley of Sugar Land, Sarah Wolper of Pearland and Sean Price of Missouri City.

 

During the fall semester, the school tested a new method of assessment via an MBA simulation game in which students competed in an online industry simulation. The program simulates a company in a growth industry during a virtual eight-year period. Students coordinate strategy and tactics across several areas of their company. The winning team for the first MBA simulation included Ashish Gupta of Houston, Kenneth Hester of Spring, Narayanan Kavilveedu of Katy and Shailaja Thakkar of Missouri City.

 

“It’s quite a challenge,” Hester said. “We had to pull together aspects from all four business pillars, marketing, management, finance and accounting, to create a strategy in order to keep our business running and make it successful.”

 

Historically, participants describe how the projects bring them together as a team, which makes the experience a worthwhile and enjoyable one. This year was no different.

 

“Our whole team grew together as the competition went on,” Hester said. “We really became the operating founders of our virtual company.”

 

The conference enjoys a unique social environment as well, since most of the students take classes online.

 

“One of the coolest parts about the conference is when students who have been working together online for months finally get to meet face to face,” Mims said. “The conference is often the first time any of them have ever been in the same room.”

 

This gathering of business minds also produces a unique social environment.

 

“The competition was unbelievable between them,” said assistant professor Ron Salazar, one three professors who teaches the capstone class. He added some good-natured ribbing often takes place between contestants.

 

Many UHV business faculty and MBA alumni serve as panelists for the case competition.

 

“One of my favorite parts about the conference is the way it often feels like a class reunion,” Mims said.

 

Some of the students travel from far away to attend the conference.

 

Alfonzo came all the way from Dubai to be part of the second-place case competition team. Others drove in from cities across Texas. The fall competition was held at the University of Houston System at Cinco Ranch, where UHV offers business classes.

 

Members of the top-three MBA Conference case competition teams and the top simulation team received individual certificates, and names of the members of the winning case competition team will appear on a plaque in the school’s office. They also will be recognized by Dean Farhang Niroomand at a breakfast celebrating their achievements.

 

Members of all winning teams will be invited to serve as panelists at future case competitions.

 

 

 

 

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region, offers courses leading to more than 65 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and concentrations in the schools of Arts & Sciences, Business Administration, Education & Human Development, and Nursing. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus as well as teaching sites in Fort Bend, Harris and Montgomery counties, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. Since its founding in 1973, UHV has provided students with a quality university education from excellent faculty at an affordable price.