• From the Classroom to the Boardroom


When Aliou Ba and his fellow team members showed up to make their presentation for the Annual NABA Case Competition, part of the Annual Minority Business Conference, they were more than prepared. Teams of graduate and undergraduate students were asked to research the case of a struggling real-life business called KaBloom, a cash-and-carry flower shop owned by Professor David Hartstein. The students act as the business’ consultants, and present their findings to a panel of judges.

Though all nine teams showed up with PowerPoint presentations, Ba’s team truly became consultants and took their new role seriously, says Gail Sergenian, associate professor of accounting and one of the co-authors of the KaBloom case. After a visit to the company and interviews with the owner, the students showed up armed with solutions to the company’s problems, which included listless employees, payroll issues, a diminishing reputation, and overspending. They even created business cards and a memo to help the judges follow their presentation.

Ba's team a trick up its sleeve that the other teams didn't: at the root of their analysis was a case analysis model Ba had recently studied in MGT 320-Small Business Management. The model, developed by George Moker, director of entrepreneurship programs in the Business School, helps students develop critical thinking and analytical skills when it comes to business management, and it served the students well when they applied it to KaBloom and earned the $2,500 first prize at the competition. "The judges were amazed," says Sergenian. "They said there was the winning team and then there was everyone else." Moker commented, "We modified this course so our students can develop and practice the skills they need to analyze a problem and work through a challenging, methodical through process of reaching a successful solution. It is always exciting to see the lessons learned in the classroom become reality and the team should be very proud of their accomplishment."

Also, two of Ba's teammates took Professor Pierre DuJardin's Case Analysis and Presentation course in preparation for the NABA Case Competition. The course provided a strong foundation in the student's preparation for the Competition. The winning team included:
Fatou Douf, Finance Major, Aliou Ba, Management/Entrepreneurship Major, Brittany Cordts, Marketing Major, Christelle Ouedraogo, Accounting Major, and Mame-Oumy Mbengue, Accounting/ISOM Major

And all that work earned them more than money: “Some companies already want to hire us as interns,” Ba wrote to Beverly Flaxington, his professor in MGT 320. “I’m proud of myself today. And I hope I make you proud as well.”



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