BHP Sophomores Gain Real-World Experience from Case Competition

Written by Paige Kimball

One of the fantastic things about BHP is that the program is constantly providing its students with real world experiences that will be applicable to them when they begin their working careers. Last Friday the BHP sophomore class experienced one of these occasions by participating in the BA151 Case Competition. The class was split into teams and given a case problem to come up with a solution for. This year’s case competition was sponsored by PepsiCo, who generously provided the case and industry professionals to judge the presentations.

 The sophomores received their case a week before Thanksgiving break and were given two and a half weeks to create a fleshed out solution and accompanying presentation. The case revolved around a real product that PepsiCo gave the sophomores to sample, which helped bring the case to life and made the students excited about the project.

After receiving the case instructions and guidelines, it was up to the sophomores to put together a plan of action and decide where to go with their ideas. Everyone was put out of their comfort zone by not only being given a problem in which the solution was open to interpretation but being placed into teams where they didn’t necessarily know all their members. PepsiCo played a big part in the learning experience by providing an issue to solve that was current and relevant to the students.

After a few late nights and some good old case bonding, the BHP sophomores had their slide decks in tow and were ready to present. Dressed to impress in business professional, the sophomores were assigned to one of five rooms. Each room had judges who were PepsiCo professionals and BHP professors. While the teams presented their ideas, the judges were encouraged to interject with questions and comments about their solutions, just as they would if the students were actual consulting groups.

Once every team had presented, the judges chose the best presentations from each of their respective rooms to move on to the final round. The six teams who were chosen to advance to finals then presented their solution again to a room of eight judges. After the judges deliberated, first through third place were awarded and a very busy and exciting day came to an end. Congratulations to the following teams!

First place: Mariette Peltier, Paige Kimball, Anna Chong, Mariel Trimble

Second place: Farahn Seibert-Hughes, Kruti Mehta, Katherine Barnhart, Bryson Hearne

Third place: Mary Claire Adams, Adam Roossien, Jonathan Go, Priyunka Maheshwari

Thank you to all the students who participated. And a huge thank you to PepsiCo and its employees who made this event possible by providing a great case and fantastic judges. This was a learning experience the sophomores will not soon forget.


An Experience at the Global Women’s Initiative Conference

Anna.Hiran Photo

Written by Anna Hiran

Earlier this summer, Texas Scholarships posted an interesting scholarship opportunity on their website. The entry requirement was to write an essay of 2,500 words about women embracing risks and innovating solutions in the business environment. After much researching and editing, I sent in my 11-page essay that addressed how we can encourage millennial women to reach for positions past middle management by “leaning in” rather than “leaning back” in high-risk situations. In September, I received a phone call from Womenetics, the B-corporation that provided the scholarship opportunity, informing me that my essay had made the top-five cut out of more than 200 entries. It all felt so surreal. The award included a trip to Chicago to speak on a panel at the Global Women’s Initiative Conference and a generous scholarship prize sponsored by Discover.

On November 11 and 12, I visited Chicago for the first time to attend the conference and had the chance to visit Northwestern University, speak with partners from Bain & Company and Goldman Sachs, and listen to the former President of IKEA North America and Roberta Phillips of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The conference was held on the 66th floor of the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) and showcased Chicago’s beauty through the ceiling-to-floor windows in the ballroom. The room was filled with bright, inspirational women who were anxious to share their stories about being a female in the workplace and how we can engage young women going into business to take up leadership roles and advance to C-suite levels.

My top takeaways from the conference were:

1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. One of the panelists was a principal of eMentorConnect, a company dedicated to building corporate mentoring solutions within a workforce. She highlighted the benefits of asking for and gaining the support of other women and how people who work with and mentor each other are an organization’s greatest asset.

2. We need more women in government. Twenty female senators served in the U.S. Congress this past legislative session; there are 100 seats in the Senate. While 20 women in the U.S. Senate is a record-breaking number, the U.S. legislative body needs to be more reflective of our country’s population. Women bring diversity not only in gender, but also in thought and idea, and because of this, having females in leadership positions is becoming even more important.

3. Get back in the game. More and more companies are creating a work schedule and environment that is flexible and friendlier for women who return from maternity leave. Rather than slowing down, continue striving for high professional goals. One of the most memorable quotes said at the conference was, “don’t short-change yourself.” Have the confidence to keep aiming for the top because there are many companies out there that will be accommodating and support you as both a career woman and a mother.

I cannot thank Womenetics and Discover enough for the experience at the Global Women’s Initiative Conference, but the most appreciation goes to the knowledgeable female business leaders who are acting as mentors for young women in the workplace today. The insight and advice they gave sparked motivation and optimism in everyone sitting in the room. The chance to speak at the conference about my experience as a millennial was humbling, and I now feel a new energy and confidence to advance as a female in the workplace. I hope to attend more conferences like this because I learned an incredible amount over the course of just two days, and the issues discussed were all relevant to me as a BHP student. I look forward to seeing more innovative women become leaders in business and can say that the future of millennials looks brighter than ever.

Student Profile: Adam Petras – UBC President

AdamPetrasBHP Senior, Adam Petras, began his role as President of the Undergraduate Business Council (UBC) at the beginning of this semester. He joined UBC at the beginning of his freshman year and has been actively involved ever since, continuing to make a positive impact on the McCombs undergraduate community.

Why did you choose UT and specifically, BHP?

I decided to go to the University of Texas because it had everything I was looking for in a college experience: top-tier academic programs, a huge campus with 50,000 students, and a great city to live in. I actually came in to UT as a non-BHP McCombs student, but after learning more about the case-based curriculum, small class sizes, and sense of community that BHP had, I was motivated to apply as a sophomore transfer.

How did you become involved in UBC?

I first learned about UBC during Freshman Orientation. As I was waiting for my parents to pick me up I began talking to one of the Orientation Advisors to pass the time. She seemed so driven, poised, and confident and was telling me about how joining UBC was one of the best decisions she made at UT. This conversation inspired me to learn more about the Undergraduate Business Council and to apply to UBC when I returned to campus. I applied to UBC as an At-Large Member and also ran for the Freshman Elected Representative position. Although I didn’t win the Elected Representative election, I was selected as an At-Large Member.

How has your involvement progressed throughout the years? What different leadership roles have you held?

My involvement has progressed from a committee member and elected Senate Representative to a leader of the organization. During my first two years on council, I participated in a mix of internal-facing and external-facing committees and responsibilities. After sophomore year, I decided to run for Financial Director of UBC, and ended up serving in this role during my junior year. This year I have returned to the Executive Board as President and am really enjoying the experience so far.

What types of events does UBC put on?

UBC hosts a wide variety of events. From career events such as The VIP Distinguished Speaker Series, Company Field Trips, and case competitions to academic events such as McCombs Talks and the McCombs Executive Summit, UBC provides McCombs undergraduates opportunities outside the classroom to make the most of their education. We also host many student life events such as Engineering vs. Business week and BBA Legacy to help create a strong sense of community within McCombs.

What have you gained by being part of UBC?

I have grown a lot on the professional and academic side through really strong older mentors, and by being in an environment where everyone is highly motivated to achieve their goals. It is very empowering to be surrounded by such great people. I have also grown a lot personally. Through my leadership positions these past two years, I have become much more proactive and organized, and have made some of my best friends through UBC.

What do you hope for UBC to do differently under your presidency?

I hope to spur a culture of innovation and excitement within UBC this year. As an established organization, it is easy to do the same thing every year and accept the status quo, but this year we’re really trying to look for ways to improve how we serve the undergraduate students of McCombs. Whether it be through a new or revamped event or through working with faculty and administration, we are striving to push the boundaries and elevate our effectiveness in serving the McCombs School of Business.