Belmont students Katie Langan, an international business major, and DJ Needs, an economics and entrepreneurship double major, truly took the saying “From Here to Anywhere” to heart when their teams won gold medals at the University of Connecticut’s Global Business Case Competition. Langan, who worked on a team of four called KJR Global Solutions, and Needs, who worked on a team of three called Mushbrains, put their business skills to the test when challenged to help solve real-world international business problems.
Langan’s team worked with Forum Tauri to propose a revitalization plan for the town Minami in Japan. Minami faces a plethora of issues such as an aging population, lack of economic activity and a need to integrate with the larger island of Shikoku. In order to come up with a solution to the issue at hand, Lagan and her team had to brainstorm and compromise on the final proposal.
Ultimately, Langan’s team came up with the idea of creating an entrepreneurial hub. “This would bring back the youth, carry on cultural knowledge, increase tourism/economic activity and integrate Minami into Shikoku, while building upon the foundation of what Minami already has to offer,” said Langan.
Needs’s team took on the challenge of helping increase sales for Rinjani Mountain Coffee Company, a coffee company located in Lombok, Indonesia.
“We decided for them to focus on increasing product integration domestically by reaching out to various chain coffee shops in Indonesia, and how they may best incorporate their Bed and Breakfast into farm and coffee operations,” explained Needs. “We found this to be more meaningful than suggesting an online marketplace sales approach which turned out to be for the best.”
After developing a business plan, both teams recorded their presentations and sent them to judges at the University of Connecticut. Once they passed that round, the final step involved presenting their plans to the business owners. Both teams’ presentations stood out from their competitors, resulting in placing first in their competitions and earning gold medals.
Needs and Langan note that achieving this goal wouldn’t have been possible without their education at Belmont. “The highlight of the competition for me was being able to put what I’ve learned in the classroom into action. It is the skills and foundation I have been given from the entire college that has allowed me to take on such a challenge and succeed,” said Langan. “I am so incredibly thankful to the many professors who have shaped my knowledge and perspective over my college experience that I will take into all future business opportunities.”
“Dr. Marieta Velikova recommended me and was a fantastic advisor,” said Needs. “Dr. Colin Cannonier’s Economic Growth and Development Class taught me how to do a case study in a truly immersive way. Haskell Murray’s Business Ethics class helped me realize how businesses can best treat their employees ethically. Dustin Rumbaugh’s Econometrics class, combined with Howard Cochran’s Finance class and Brad Childs Accounting class, have taught me how to incorporate data into my research and how best to interpret my findings. I could go through every class in the business school but this answer would be five pages long.”
Participating in such an intense competition as well as studying business at Belmont helped Needs and Langan realize how important it is to have a solid understanding of other cultures and to be able to collaborate internationally when working in the business world.
“With continuing globalization and the diverse nature of the workforce even here in the Unite States it is critical to be understanding of others and consider the various perspectives others can bring to a project,” said Langan. “Our differences allow for greater innovation and progress which will make a business that much better off.”
To learn more about how to get involved in international business competitions, visit Belmont’s Center for International Business website.