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International Business Team Places Fifth in Netherlands

Belmont University business students placed fifth during the 2012 Network of International Business Schools (NIBS) Worldwide Case competition in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

College of Business Administration students Ayesha Ghaffar, Rami Nofal, Jordan Holt and Shirah Foy competed at the Kralingse Zoom in Rotterdam from Feb. 26 to March 2. Teams from across the world submitted case solutions for review, and the top 10 teams were selected to face off at NIBS final competition.

“Once again our students have made us extremely proud,” said Assistant Professor of Economics Marieta Velikova, who accompanied the students to the Netherlands. “They were truly amazing. Presentation, analysis, idea, alternatives assessment, financials, implementation, contingency plan, Q&A … I could not have asked more, or they could not have done better.”

Each team had four hours to prepare a case without outside help. Their presentations were assessed by a jury of professional and academic experts. The cases were about a Lebanese social enterprise company, a South African company automotive manufacturer, social media marketing in China and the bio tech industry.

““I think really the group we made was unique – knowing the quantitative side of business, having the ability to synthesize information and knowing a creative marketing. Each of us had our own backgrounds and area of expertise. It was a blend of academics, theoretical frame work and being involved on campus that engineered the team,” said Rami Nofal, a junior from Nashville studying international business, finance and economics.

“Going into the NIBS competition as the new team this year, we came with great attitudes and hard work ethic, but weren’t provided much specific information about how to best prepare for the presentations. The learning curve was incredibly steep, and after losing the first round to some of the best presenters there, we spent the rest of the night reorganizing and putting together a strategy for the next few days of presentations,” said Foy. “(We) truly came together to capitalize on our strengths in formulating solutions for the cases and translating these ideas into a cohesive presentation.  But we could not have done it without the constant encouragement and spot-on guidance from our wonderful coach.”

Belmont was the only team that won both its morning and afternoon cases on Feb. 28. In the history of NIBS case competition, the newcomer team has never won more than one case.

The students won cases against the International Business Academy from Denmark, Carleton and Salisbury University. Despite a sick presenter, technical difficulties and facing another team with wardrobes sponsored by a local fashion store, Belmont went on to beat the 2011 NIBS winner Memorial University .

“The judges said that it was the best case solution and presentation they have watched since (the beginning of this year’s competition). They were so complimentary to our team. One judge even after the formal feedback found us and shook our hands and spoke so complimentary to our team members. She told them that she was very impressed with their knowledge and ability to think and understand complex business problems,” Velikova said. “This competition has just once again reminded me that what we do every day in the classroom matters and has such a long lasting impact. Being here and listening to our students present made me so proud of our students, program, and of course faculty.”

Overall, Belmont placed ahead of Salisbury University, International Business Academy of Denmark, KHLeuven, Memorial University and Rotterdam University of Applied Science; however, the four teams with the highest scores advanced to the semifinal round.

“Participation in the NIBS competition and the ultimate success of the Belmont team is evidence not only of our continuing mission to internationalize the College of Business but also of the exceptional quality of our students,” said Jeffrey W. Overby, associate professor of marketing and director of the Center for International Business.

This was the second international business case competition for Belmont students this school year.  Ghaffar, Holt and Nofal, along with Patrick Hurt, brought home several awards from the Eighth Annual Center for International Business Education and Research Case Challenge in October.

Click here to read more on the 2012 NIBS Worldwide Case competition.

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