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Willamette students win big at international collegiate business competition

by University Communications,

The ̫ӳ team of Simon Stein BS’25, Kaitlyn Westby BS’25, Gabe Kronisch BA’24, Dylan Green BS’25, Audrey Ely BS’24, and Vanessa Hernandez Barron BS’24 won Best Presentation Award, Runner-up in Documents, and Runner-up in Overall Performance with their simulated company Bearcat Health at the 60th annual International Collegiate Business Strategy Competition in Anaheim, Ca. Three of the team members were student-athletes, who brought their competitive spirit to the event: Westby from volleyball, Green from men's basketball, and Stein from men's soccer.

“Bearcat Health performed so well because our team members brought different skills to the table,” said Westby who served as the company’s Chief Strategy Officer. “Each of us had a strong grasp of all aspects of the firm, making us an exceptionally well-rounded group.”

The annual competition gives students a hands-on understanding of business management by operating simulated manufacturing companies that compete in a simulated marketplace. To be successful, teams must make strategic decisions about all aspects of running a business, including financial planning and analysis, production scheduling, marketing, and investment planning. Teams develop and execute a strategic business plan and present annual reports to a Board of Directors composed of experienced real-world executives who evaluate their performance.

The team’s advisor, Gilbert Park, Assistant Professor of Finance at the Atkinson Graduate School of Management said, “This competition is great because it provides a realistic business environment and offers students a practical appreciation for the difficulties and rewards of effective business management.”

Bearcat Health focused on health and hydration solutions. Stein, who served as CEO, said the competition and experience of leading the simulated company was exciting because it allowed him to apply classroom learning to real-world business scenarios. “Competing with other teams brought all the business knowledge and skills I've been learning to life in a meaningful and engaging way,” said Stein. “Presenting our business plan to judges who actively lead companies felt like being on Shark Tank.”

“I feel confident in my ability to take the knowledge and skills I acquired from this experience into the real world. The competition has been one of the most impactful and beneficial experiences in my time here,” said Green who served as the Chief Marketing Officer.

“Willamette’s business program is top-notch. Everything I've learned is directly applicable and has made a big impact,” added Stein.

Special thanks to Assistant Athletics Director Robert McKinney for additional reporting on this story.

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