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UHV BBA Conference winners record first perfect score

By Victoria Advocate
May 3, 2014 at 12:03 a.m.

Catherine Bardwell, left, Amy Seributra, Daniel Zamora and Jesica Isbell pose for a photo after winning first place in the case competition Saturday at the University of Houston-Victoria Bachelor of Business Administration Conference.

Jesica Isbell said she and her teammates had a good feeling after their case presentation at the University of Houston-Victoria Bachelor of Business Administration Conference on Saturday.

But it still caught her off guard when it was announced that her team won the competition and attained the first perfect score in BBA Conference history.

"I was holding back tears," she said. "I had an overwhelming sense of accomplishment because we worked so hard. To find out we were the champions and had a perfect score was tremendous."

The UHV School of Business Administration holds the conference each semester at UH Sugar Land, where UHV offers many of the programs.

Every semester since 2007, students enrolled in "Strategic Management," the capstone course of the BBA program, have attended the conference and competed as teams in the presentation of a company case analysis.

At Saturday's conference, 100 students on 26 teams competed by presenting case analyses about Tesco.

Members of the first-place team were Catherine Bardwell, of Sealy; Amy Seributra, of Richmond; Daniel Zamora, of Houston; and Isbell, of Valley View. Each received an individual plaque, and the names of the team members will appear on a plaque in the UHV School of Business Administration office. They also will be invited to serve as panelists at future case competitions.

Members of the second-place team were Katy residents Jose Jaime and Shawn Pinel, Johanna Sanchez, of Richmond; and Glenda Vega, of Houston.

The third-place team consisted of Courtney Samayoa, of Port Lavaca; Agnieszka Smith, of Inez; and Melissa Stange and Robert Stryk, both of Victoria.

BBA teams are scored on a scale of 1 to 4 on the following traits: organization of the presentation, subject knowledge, clarity of the issues, quality of the recommendations and analysis of the business. Panelists then assign a score based on the performance on those traits, following the traditional zero to 100 scale.

The winning team recorded fours on all the traits and had a total score of 100. The previous record was 98.5 scored by the fall 2013 team of Ryan Becker, Joseph Kanewske, Amanda Dowlin and Angela Thacker.

"I'd like to extend my congratulations to Catherine, Jesica, Amy and Daniel," said Farhang Niroomand, dean of the UHV School of Business Administration. "It takes a lot of preparation, keen analysis and presentation skills to achieve a perfect score. I'm sure future teams will strive for a 100, but these four seniors always will be the first to accomplish this impressive feat."

Since the four team members are online students, they didn't know one another prior to starting work on the case. The team met via video calls on Sundays using Google Hangouts and had two face-to-face rehearsals. Each team member researched a different area of Tesco. Then they came together to write the paper and build a case.

"We each tried to become an expert on our topic," Zamora said. "That way, during the question-and-answer segment, one of us could step up and provide expertise."

Isbell, who lives 20 minutes from the Oklahoma border, handles marketing for Eikon Consultant Group, an architecture and engineering company in Sanger. At first, she was concerned the distance from her teammates would make things difficult, but teamwork ended up being one of the group's strong suits.

"Collaboration was critical in analyzing the company and coming up with a recommendation," she said. "I think it showed in the presentation that we had done our due diligence and worked well together to craft the analysis."

Zamora, a 15-year banking veteran who now works for BBVA Compass, said the case competition gave him a better feel for making recommendations in a business setting.

"The experience taught me to look beyond the financials," he said. "There are so many other components that go into a recommendation, so it's important to examine a broad range of factors."

The case competitors joined the panelists and business faculty for a luncheon featuring a keynote speech by Dr. Juliet Breeze, founder, medical director and CEO of Next Level Urgent Care. The company provides after-hours and weekend nonemergent care at nine locations in the Houston region.

"She started her business from nothing," Zamora said about Breeze. "It took a lot of hard work and risk to make it work. It was a motivational story to learn how she made it happen."

The BBA luncheon was sponsored by The Willis Group, GEICO, Regency Post-Acute Healthcare System and Wells Fargo Advisors - Mark Zafereo.

UHV's Master of Business Administration Conference will be Saturday at UH Sugar Land. Denise Castillo-Rhodes, Texas Medical Center executive vice president and chief financial officer, will give the keynote address.

The speeches by Breeze and Castillo-Rhodes are part of the Willis Group Distinguished Speaker Series.

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