Three students from the College of Business Administration (CBA) at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) turned in the best undergraduate performance at the Intercollegiate Business Ethics Case Competition (IBECC) to win the Kerrigan Award, presented to the undergraduate division champion and runner-up finisher in the final round of the contest.
Celeste Ahl, Rachel Feldman, and Zulema Uriarte-Elizalde captured the award and a $750 cash prize after presenting their case study on Foxconn, a manufacturing operation in Shenzhen, China, where 12 workers have recently committed suicide by jumping from buildings. CBA Professor Kathleen Lacey worked with the group in preparation for the competition.
After an online preliminary competition over the summer, teams from CSULB, the Central European University (Budapest), LaSalle University, Loyola Marymount University and the University of St. Thomas (Minn.) competed in the IBECC finals, which was held at the Ethics and Compliance Officers Association annual meeting in Anaheim.
All teams participating in the intercollegiate competition gave a presentation during the preliminary round. From there, the top four teams faced off in a final round. Each finalist team prepared an abbreviated 10-minute presentation dealing exclusively with the ethical dimension of their case. A panel of judges selected one overall winner and determined the number of runner-up awards.
“The College of Business Administration is very proud of the efforts of Celeste, Rachel and Zulema. They represented Cal State Long Beach well,” said Lacey, who noted that the team completed its Foxconn analysis and presentation during the summer and in early September, working on evenings and weekends since they each worked full-time during the day.
Ahl, Feldman and Uriarte-Elizalde participated in the Edna Davis Hobbs California Student Leadership Institute, a year-long course of study sponsored by CSULB’s Ukleja Center for Ethical Leadership and taught by Lacey. In the class, students have an opportunity to explore ethical issues related to business, government, education, media, healthcare, athletics and other professional fields. Teamwork, community service and networking with guest speakers are an integral part of the program, which is held both on and off campus.
For the competition, each team selects a topic from any area of business ethics and prepares a 30-minute presentation, describing the problem and proposing a solution. Judges listen to the team’s presentation, question students for another 20 minutes and then give the team feedback. Each presentation covers the legal, financial and ethical dimensions of the case, but special emphasis is placed on the strength of the ethical analysis of the problem and the ethical acceptability of the solution.