Business students secure first place with analysis of Cheniere Energy
Countless hours of discussion and practice have led up to this pivotal moment for University of Houston-Victoria student Ivan Garza and his team.
As the final members articulated their thoughts, the team collectively knew they had competed on a higher level, which ultimately led them to secure first place in this semester’s UHV College of Business Bachelor of Business Administration Case Conference.
“I was impressed with the professionalism of this team. They held weekly team meetings to discuss different aspects of the project, and I enjoyed attending their meetings to answer their questions and provide them with feedback,” said Kaveh Moghaddam McAdam, a UHV associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship. “I was delighted to see that they revised the project report several times based on my feedback. When I joined their presentation practice session before the conference, I told them that they could easily be among the top three teams. I would like to congratulate them for winning first place. Well deserved!”
As part of the Management 4309 Capstone course, the BBA Conference is held once each semester. Throughout the course, in addition to working on the course content, students also are expected to do an internal and external analysis on a publicly chartered company. A total of 128 students in 25 teams competed in this semester’s conference. The event was conducted over Microsoft Teams on Nov. 18, and the results were announced on Nov. 27.
This semester, students focused on Cheniere Energy, a natural gas company based in Houston. Each team conducted a comprehensive examination of the internal and external operations of the company, eyed the strengths and weaknesses and looked for any opportunities for improvements that could be made.
“It’s treated as if the team is a consultant going into a board of directors, so to speak,” said Rhiannon Smith, assistant dean of administration and student services for the College of Business.
The students then prepared an in-depth report and presented their findings on Microsoft Teams during a 30-minute presentation to a panel made up of faculty of the College of Business’ advisory board members, external judges, employers and alumni.
Students are evaluated on their presentation skills, knowledge of the company and their ability to answer questions on the fly with accuracy. Fifteen minutes are given after the presentation to allow the panel to ask follow-up questions.
“While learning and applying strategic management techniques are important, students also go through a learning process regarding how to work in teams and meet deadlines during this semester-long project,” McAdam said. “Students gain important experience regarding teamwork skills, project management capabilities and presentation competencies.”
Garza’s team began working on the project in mid-September and concluded their research in early November.
Even though it was his first time competing in the conference, Garza, a senior who is pursuing his Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting, said the key to a successful presentation was first to split his group up into specialized sections, with each section responsible for a part of the project.
For the first five days of the initial project, he and his team delved into researching the details of Cheniere Energy. At the end of the week, the team convened to report on their findings and begin forming the outline of a cohesive presentation that can be easily understood by all audiences, he said.
“My favorite memory of the project without a doubt was probably the toughest section, which was determining our implementation – what was going to make our team different from the others, and what would win us the competition,” Garza said. “After two hours of deciding which implementation to use, at one point all of us at the same time decided to go with the same choice. Hours of thinking led us to the same exact point.”
During the day of the presentation, the wave of anticipation and anxiety that rolled over the team was quickly replaced with confidence once the team realized how long they had worked on this project and the knowledge they had prepared, Garza said.
“We put a lot of work into this project, and there were definitely times when we were all tired but still pushed through,” Garza said. “Hard work pays off, and this is the result of hard work.”
Other teams that placed in the BBA Case Conference were:
- Second place – Brandon Brown of Pearland, Jasmin De La Cruz of San Antonio, Nhi Lam of Richmond, Adrianna Morelli of Fulshear and Stephanie Hope and Cindy Larios of Houston.
- Third place – Prapti Acharya of Richmond, Vicki Hudson of Bay City, Janaysia Jackson of Brazoria, Shanita Jackson of Katy, and Meshia London-Seales and Michelle Rodriguez Mejia of Houston.
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 50 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.