UHV MBA students compete at fall conference
Jan. 14, 2012 at 5:04 p.m.
Updated Jan. 13, 2012 at 7:14 p.m.
SUGAR LAND - Fall graduates of the University of Houston-Victoria's Master of Business Administration program culminated their studies with a recent case-study competition that included a keynote speech from a prominent Houston businessman.
Nine students from two teams took home top prizes in the Fall MBA Conference at the University of Houston System at Sugar Land, where UHV offers many of the business courses. The event was capped off with a luncheon and speech by Farouk Shami, founder and chairman of Farouk Systems, makers of CHI and BioSilk hair care products.
Teams of students from the MBA capstone course, Seminar in Strategic Management, analyzed Apple Inc. and Netflix during the fall semester and presented their recommendations at the semi-annual conference. Ninety-four students attended the conference, and many flew in from other states to attend the weekend event.
Taking top honors for the Apple case was a team from a class taught by Rajan Selvarajan, an associate professor of management. Anchoring the team were George Castillo and Carolyn Sanders, of Houston; Disa Primus, of Missouri City; Umang Joshi, of Sugar Land; and James Robertson, of Pearland.
Primus found the competition intense and complementary to her work as a senior trade documentation analyst for Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.
"The competition was a great experience, and we worked well together," she said. "Our group worked really hard and put everything we had into the contest."
Primus, who returned to get her MBA after 10 years in the workforce, found the School of Business Administration's offerings flexible yet rigorous.
"The classes are intense, but the scheduling was flexible and the professors know many of us are working professionals," she said. "What I learned has helped my perspective in my professional life. I was able to immediately apply much of what I learned in my courses at my job."
Taking top honors for the Netflix case was a team from a class taught by Ron Salazar, an associate professor of management. Team members consisted of Brenan Drake and Steven Madrid, of Houston; and Dora Chen and Kola Komolafe, of Katy.
Winning team members receive certificates, and their names appear on a plaque in the School of Business Administration main office in Victoria. Members of winning teams are invited to evaluate other MBA students by participating as panelists at future competitions.
Shami was invited to the conference as part of the School of Business Administration Distinguished Speaker Series sponsored by the Willis Group - a local staffing and recruiting services firm - and Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
"We were so pleased that Mr. Shami attended the conference and shared his leadership and business knowledge with our MBA students," said Farhang Niroomand, dean of the UHV School of Business Administration. "These students are ready to take what they have learned in the MBA program from UHV faculty and area business leaders, and contribute these skills to a wide range of industries."
Earlier in the semester, the School of Business Administration hosted the inaugural Willis Group Distinguished Speaker Series event.
John Ragan, vice president of NRG Energy, spoke to a packed house of more than 175 students and local business leaders about NRG's renewable energy projects and the global energy market.
"The presentation was outstanding and very informative," said Rohan Thomas, a student in the Strategic MBA program. "The Speaker Series is a wonderful addition to our MBA program."