From left, Heavener Director of Career & Leadership Programs Lisa D'Souza with case competition winners Todd Carlson, Austin Fladland and Ha Nguyen.

First-year students flourish in ethics case competition

The Warrington Welcome Ethics Case Competition, hosted by the Business Ethics Ambassadors (BEAs), is more than a competition. It’s an opportunity for first-year students to be exposed to the business ethics and help acclimate themselves to the Warrington College of Business.

Here’s how Warrington students prepared for the competition Oct. 3-10.

Beginning the Competition

The BEAs led ethical discussions challenging students to apply their perspectives to relevant ethical dilemmas that corporations are currently facing. Students were placed into teams and presented a comprehensive business solution about Publix’s stance on whether or not to join the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.

Much of the success of the event can also be attributed to the leadership of Dr. Michelle Darnell, Co-Director of the Elizabeth B. & William F. Poe, Sr. Center for Business Ethics Education and Research.

Students Prepare to Present

Members of the Business Ethics Case Competition team held a “Crush the Case” seminar to prepare students to construct and deliver a professional presentation. More than 100 students attended the seminar.

“The most beneficial part of the presentation was seeing the PowerPoint design the team used,” said student Carly Ritterband. “When making my team’s PowerPoint, I mimicked the techniques I saw in the Crush the Case presentation. These tips provided a great base for our presentation, and were very effective in presenting our ideas.”

The Winning Teams

The winners of each Warrington Welcome and Transfer Success Seminar classes moved onto the final round of competition, which was hosted at Heavener Hall on, Oct. 10. The winning team included Todd Carlson, Ha Nguyen, Austin Fladland, Carly Ritterband, and Jeremey Parchment. The second-place team consisted of Logan Schroeder-Stephens, Nolan Purdy, Jorie Anaya, Kyle Hotham, and Justice Galaris.

The first-place and second-place teams received awards of $500 and $250, respectively.

Professionals from Altria, the Teaching and Learning Center, the MIB Program, Habitat for Humanity, and Capital City Bank volunteered their time to judge the presentations.

The Impact on First-Year Students

The competition gave students one of their first opportunities in college to enhance their public speaking skills through a formal business presentation, and work in project teams.

Nguyen saw the experience as an opportunity to build relationships and get comfortable during her first year at UF.

“One of the biggest challenges of being new is trying to find your standing at the University of Florida,” she said. “When I heard about this competition, I was thinking there was hardly a chance for me to stand out among other talented freshmen. However, after going through each round, I realized I was developing important skills and becoming a part of a great community that cares about business ethics. It gave me a confidence boost and an ultimate goal of wanting to support society through business. I was also able to conquer one of my biggest fears: public speaking in a foreign language. Because of this competition, I learned that if I try my best, anything is impossible.”

The Importance of Business Ethics for First-Year Students

Abby Fielding, the BEA leader for this project, recognized the importance that the competition had on students.

“The impact we created during those presentations reached over 500 students in any given semester,” she said. “I have seen the comprehension of business ethics from students increase exponentially and have watched the success of the event grow. I feel very blessed to organize one of the most impactful and exciting events for our first-year students.”

–Jessie Modrak (BSBA ’19)