UNC Students Win International Business Ethics Case Competition

The winning team from UNC, from left: Evan Adams, Sarah Feaster, Michelle Ellison and John-Patrick Murray.

University of Northern Colorado students earned a first-place award at the International Business Ethics Case Competition last week in Santa Monica, Calif.

The four Monfort College of Business seniors volunteered to team up for a series of presentations in front of panels of judges on their topic titled "The True Cost of EpiPen's High Prices."

Accounting major Michelle Ellison, appointed the group spokesperson, made the award-winning, 90-second presentation as she played the part of an employee expressing concerns that ethical issues weren't being adequately addressed by the EpiPen company. In her remarks, she drew on her personal experience in treating her multiple sclerosis. Joining Ellison were Evan Adams, Accounting and Management; Sarah Feaster, Management; and John-Patrick Murray, Management. They competed against La Salle University, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Ripon College, and St. Petersburg College.

The team, advised by Professor Keiko Krahnke who accompanied the team to the competition, also made 25-minute and 10-minute presentations and received feedback from judges, who played the role of the healthcare industry.

"The judges asked MBA-level questions, and the students handled them well," Krahnke said, noting she was as impressed by the outcome as she was in how the students represented UNC during and outside of the competition. "Overall, this is a great learning experience, and it's nice to see students so focused on the same goal."

This is the first year UNC participated in the IBECC, but UNC students are no stranger to ethics contests and faring well. Just last week, two UNC teams out of 71 entries that were submitted by 19 colleges and universities nationwide were named finalists in the Ethics in Action Video Competition sponsored by The National Association of State Boards Accountancy's Center for the Public Trust.

Another UNC team, which includes Adams and Ellison (along with Christopher Bristow, senior, Management; Christopher Campbell, junior, Finance & Accounting; Madison Marrs, junior, Marketing; and Kendall Ryan, junior, Marketing), will compete in the Daniels Fund Ethics Case Competition on Thursday and Friday in Denver. UNC is a member of the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative, which provided funding and made it possible for the UNC team to compete in Santa Monica.

"As a university, we have a commitment to ethics," said UNC Professor Sharon Clinebell. "The Daniels Fund Initiative grant provides more opportunities for students to participate in such events."