News Release

GSM Team Champs at International Business Strategy Competition

A team of second-year students from the Graduate School of Management have returned home to UC Davis with a first-place award from the 39th annual ICBSC International Collegiate Business Strategy Competition held April 10-12 in San Diego.

The GSM team also earned a second-place trophy for the best strategic business plan and annual report. The team’s fictitious company, Cyberdine, Inc., specialized in technology for toy robots.

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 six “worlds” each with three to seven teams going head-to-head.

The GSM team and their roles: Troy Meyer, chief financial officer; faculty advisor, Assistant Professor Eyal Biyalogorsky; Nicole Whiting, chief marketing officer; Zhigang Fang, chief strategy officer; Sophia Kao, chief technology officer; Steven Cho, chief executive officer; and Toshi Okazaki, chief operations officer.

The simulation began on the Web in early February with teams submitting a decision set weekly through late March before the final real-time phase in San Diego.

Confronted by the full-range of corporate issues, teams had to make decisions involving growth, productivity, credit norms, market analysis, new product development, plant openings, production line scheduling, compensation policies, advertising, pricing and sales strategies, asset management, finance management, multinational strategy and strategic planning.

In addition to 20 quarterly decisions, each team completed a comprehensive business plan, an annual report, several management updates and make a presentation to a panel of corporate executives who judged the competition.

“I learned that a successful business requires a clear strategic vision, and the follow through to execute on the strategy,” said Cho, CEO of the GSM team. “You have to be willing to take risks to move the business forward. And finally, a little luck can’t hurt.”

Encouraged and advised by Professor Biyalogorsky, the GSM students also experienced first-hand the importance of effective communication when they took a bold risk late in the game.

“The main turnaround was in the latter half of the competition in San Diego,” said Fang, the chief strategy officer. “We made a decision to reposition our company and differentiate ourselves from the close competitors. That decision enabled us to win in the end.”

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