Warrington student takes second place in national business writing competition

Reading Time: 2 minutes

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Alyssa Gutierrez, a senior Accounting major at the Warrington College of Business Administration, placed second in the Association for Business Communication (ABC) 2013 Student Writing Contest.

The ABC Student Writing Contest is open to undergraduate students enrolled in a business communication course. Participants are presented with a case scenario that requires a business correspondence in response. A panel of academic scholars reviews the entries and selects up to 10 finalists. The finalists’ entries are then reviewed by a panel of business professionals who select the winning entries. Entries are judged on clarity, appropriate tone and style, motivate to a desired outcome, organization and mastery of vocabulary among other criteria.

Alyssa Gutierrez finished second in the Association for Business Communication 2013 Student Writing Contest.

Alyssa Gutierrez finished second in the Association for Business Communication 2013 Student Writing Contest.

“Students in our undergraduate business writing course (GEB 3213) have to respond to the competition’s complex case scenarios, using their critical thinking and writing skills to focus on their audience and craft logical and persuasive messages,” said Dr. Fiona Barnes, Director of Warrington’s Center for Management Communication. “Such skills are critical to students’ success in the workplace.”

This year’s case involved a cosmetics company named FACE that began a Facebook campaign requesting teenagers to post videos of how the company’s cosmetics highlight their individuality. However, comments on the videos were degrading and humiliating.

Gutierrez’s task, as the company’s Facebook Manager, was to create a message for FACE’s Facebook page to promote a safe and playful environment, and craft an email to the company’s Vice President of Marketing persuading her to use the message.

“The most challenging part about this case was simultaneously satisfying the needs of the FACE target market and the FACE Vice President of Marketing,” Gutierrez said. “Therefore, I divided the case into two distinct parts to better focus on the needs of each audience. My professor, Dr. Jane Douglas, and instructor, Sue Hatch, taught me how to properly convey a complex message by writing clearly and concisely. And since each message required a multi-step solution, I had to carefully select my diction and structure. Lastly, I learned how to write a professional email, a skill I previously took for granted, which added to my credibility as a manager.”

Gutierrez’s finish marked the fifth time since 2006—the first year the College entered this competition—that a Warrington student has placed in the top three. Warrington’s other top finishers were Iris Zhang (second place, 2010), Nicole Thomas (first, 2008), Kimberly Holker (first, 2006) and Christopher Laden (third, 2006). Warrington’s five top-three finishes are the most since the competition began in 2002.

Gutierrez received $200 for her second-place finish.