By Laura Aviles, Staff Writer
On behalf of the Thunderbird Honor Council, a group of five current Tbird students embarked on a journey to Santa Monica, California to partake in the 2017 International Business Ethics Case Competition (IBECC) held from April 19-21 at the J. W. Marriott Hotel and Spa. The outcome of their participation was outstanding.
IBECC is the premier international competition of its kind where teams from different universities and graduate schools present a case related to ethics in business. There were more than 35 teams competing this year from different parts of the world. Among the schools who participated were University of Oxford (England), The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (China), University of Melbourne (Australia), just to mention some.
The team of Tbirds stood out as being the most diverse and inclusive group. Equipped with the Thunderbird Mystique and global mindset, the group was formed by Rachel Ann (USA, first generation from Korea), Juan Carlos Quiroga (Bolivia), Franz Ferguson (USA, first generation from Belize), Monique Silva (USA, first generation from Mexico and Puerto Rico), and Gaurav Shetty (India).
They presented the ethical, legal, and financial aspects of the case named “China’s Sesame Credit: Big Data or Big Brother?”. Providing some recommendations to Alibaba and TenCent about their strategy of data protection in order to launch in the international market. After months of previous preparation and careful analysis of the case, in a role play competition with the judges as board members, they suggested a reconsideration of investment in data security due to the fact that other countries strongly uphold their customer policy and data information privacy.
The group stood out through the whole competition. Beginning on Wednesday, the arrival date, they attended an “icebreaking” networking session where they were able to meet students from the other schools. During this meeting, they took part in different dynamics aimed at recognizing the levels of relevance in applying ethics in business. They gathered information from each other and wrote a story with it. Gaurav’s story was called “When Rhinoceroses Cry” and it claimed the number one spot amongst all the participants from the different schools. The second day was the 30-minute presentation where the group acted as an internal or outside consulting group that has been asked by senior management to analyze a problem and propose a solution. The third day was described as both the hardest and most rewarding by the participants. As Monique said, “It was the highlight of the competition, the most pressured day, as we all came together to achieve the best team strategy for the pitch.” The morning began with a biathlon of running-race competitions in which Franz, Monique, and Gaurav participated. The presentations that took off were the 10-minute synopsis and a 90-second employee pitch. The synopsis was presented by Rachel and Gaurav. The pitch was given by Juan Carlos. The idea of these exercises was to help students see that it is possible to do business profitably while remaining ethical.
On the last day, the closing ceremony took place with an award ceremony for the winners of each category. Thunderbird stood amongst the others school and garnered the first place prize in the 90-second pitch, which was presented by Juan Carlos. In the 10-minute presentation, we got the second place and were represented by Rachel and Guarav. Plus, Thunderbird also received a recognition for Monique’s top five performance in the 4-mile run. who placed in the top five individual times of the 4-mile run.
“I think overall it was an amazing experience and I feel this ethics business case competition was very important because once people graduate and enter their professional lives, sometimes ethics in business gets overlooked or something gets pushed aside. So being involved in a competition like this reminds me of just how important our moral obligation is to the people around us and to the planet” – Monique Silva.
“I believe this is not about me or about the team. This is about the whole school. Thunderbird won this international award against some of the top business school and that is important because this is a win for all of the Tbird family” – Juan Carlos.
Special thanks to the Thunderbird Honor Council led by James Scott, Dr. Melissa Samuelson (ASU W.P. Carey School of Business), and the Hawkins for support and guidance.