TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Students will soon have the opportunity to transfer what they learned in the classroom into solving real world business problems during the 2017 Culverhouse Leadership Diversity Competition at The University of Alabama.
Seven schools will make up nine teams participating in the Jan. 26-28 event. Stillman College and Alabama State University will each have two teams and Alabama A&M, Indiana, Rhodes College, Rust College and Xavier will each have one team representing their universities.
The annual competition is open only to a select number of students at undergraduate institutions. Teams must consist of three undergraduate students in their sophomore or junior years of college, and a majority of the team must be from underrepresented populations in the business world.
Students in all academic disciplines are encouraged to participate.
“This competition is an opportunity for students from underrepresented populations in business to showcase their business skill sets and an opportunity to grow through the interactive experience in a case competition setting,” said Connie Chambers, competition director and director of corporate partnerships at UA’s Manderson Graduate School of Business.
Over a period of three days, teams are given a case study to analyze, research and present to a panel of actual business executives. This year’s challenge — identify one actionable recommendation for a specific company that is high-impact, can be implemented in set time frame and is potentially a game-changer for the company. The recommendation must stay within a specified budget.
The top three teams receive cash awards.
The competition also allows for corporate partners to be involved in the development of future business leaders. Corporate sponsors have the opportunity to participate as a mentor or judge for the competition while offering insight and perspective to the participating students. This year’s corporate sponsors include FedEx, Regions, Coca-Cola, EY, P&G, Hutton Construction and Hampton Inn by Hilton.
Students not only have the opportunity to win the competition, they also are able to pick up a new skill set that might make them more marketable, Chambers said. There are multiple professional and competition-specific workshops for the competitors, including branding, financial responsibility, social responsibility and diversity.
“We want to introduce students to our campus and our graduate programs,” Chambers said. “And we want to help increase those populations under-represented in the business world. We are excited that 67 percent of the competitors are women and the overall GPA average is 3.61.”
The mission of the UA Culverhouse College of Commerce and its Manderson Graduate School of Business is to create a community of student scholars from all walks of life in which all members are respected, nurtured and encouraged to make a positive impact on society. The Culverhouse Leadership Diversity Competition is an opportunity for Manderson to expand its brand to colleges and universities and encourage under-represented minorities to consider obtaining a graduate degree in business.
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.