Bringing Good Things to Light: GSM Team Champs at International Business Strategy Competition
A team of five second-year GSM students literally lit it up at the 40th annual International Collegiate Business Strategy Competition, bringing home a first-place trophy for their success running Vectar Corporation, a maker of energy-efficient light bulbs.
Hosted by the University of San Diego’s School of Business Administration, the contest attracted top business students from more than 20 national and international universities.
The competition was divided into “worlds” each with three to seven teams going head-to-head. Students deal with the same challenges, pressures and rapid pace strategic thinking that executives face in today’s highly competitive, international business environment.
At the finals held April 16-18 in San Diego, the GSM team beat rival contenders from Cal State Sacramento, Cal Poly, the University of San Diego, San Jose State, Western Kentucky University and the University of the Pacific. The GSM team’s fictitious company manufactured and sold advanced, efficient and environmentally-friendly lighting products.
The simulation began on the Web in early February with teams submitting a set of decisions each week through late March before the final real-time phase in San Diego.
“We found that it’s profit, not market share, that really counts,” said Tracy Twist, who served as Vectar’s chief operating officer. “Small market share with high margins can at times be even more lucrative than dominating the market. We outperformed competitors who at times had a greater share.”
Confronted by the full-range of corporate issues, teams had to make weekly decisions involving growth, productivity, asset and financial management, new product development, plant openings, production line scheduling, compensation policies, marketing and sales, and multinational strategy.
Teams also completed a comprehensive business plan, an annual report and several management updates and made a presentation to a panel of corporate executives who judged the competition.
“This competition really tested our hard skills—finance, statistics, production and operations—as well as our soft skills such as building a corporate vision and strategy, and working together as a team, which is the GSM’s bread and butter,” said Chris Cukor, chief marketing officer of Vectar.
Dean’s Advisory Council member George Crandell, managing partner of Crandell Capital, pledged $2,000 to help underwrite the team’s travel costs this year. GSM alumni who competed in the past and Professor Biyalogorsky rose to the challenge and matched Crandell’s gift.
“I’m thrilled that they had such a good experience,” Crandell said. “I’m a big supporter of hands-on education versus purely theory-based, which is why this is a program my wife and I wanted to support. It’s another validation of the quality of the GSM program and the students it attracts.”