Huntsman Post

USU students take first prize in Spanish business language case competition

By Megan Starley, contributor

College students who are awake at 3 a.m. isn’t anything new; but when they do stay up late, they aren’t usually talking to their own reflections in a hotel room window.

In November 2009, three Jon M. Huntsman School of Business students were involved in a late-night study session that was different than any they’d done before. It was all part of a last-minute effort to prepare for a competition that would pit them against students from major universities across the country.

All that early-morning work paid off when the Huntsman School of Business students bested teams during the competition that tested not only their ability to make sound business recommendations but required the students to present their solutions in Spanish.

Rick Williams, left, Javan Bowles and Brad Carr

Photo by Kenny Crookston

The Spanish-speaking team won first place in a competition that required them to prepare recommendations, as if Walmart had sought their advice before entering Asia, South America and Europe. They spent the night before the competition at a hotel in Provo, Utah fine tuning their presentations. They were given two weeks to prepare and then were expected to present their ideas to a panel of judges. The teams were judged on their knowledge of the case, their presentation and their ability to speak a second language.

The BYU Business Language Case Competition, held in Provo, is an annual event sponsored by the Whitmore Global Management Center in the Marriott School of Management.

Chad Albrecht, assistant professor at the Huntsman School of Business, accompanied the students to the competition but was not allowed to help or coach them in their preparations.

“Their Spanish was great,” said Dr. Albrecht, who also speaks Spanish. “They were very thorough and professional as they drew on their training in business theory to make their recommendations. I was also impressed with the responses they offered when they were questioned by the judges.”

Utah State was represented by a Spanish and a Portuguese team and competed against business schools from major universities such as the University of Washington, Purdue University, University of Indiana, Michigan State, University of Texas Austin and Baylor University.

“We all started with the same information,” said Brad Carr, a member of the Spanish team. “We tried to find an innovative way to present our conclusions so they would be clear and easy to understand. I think we succeeded.”

Members of the Spanish team were Javan Bowles, Rick Williams and Brad Carr. The Portuguese team members were Adam Croshaw, Steve Thompson and David Passey.