UHV MBA students receive first place in the graduate business competition | News

After several weeks of studying, researching, practicing and perfecting their presentation, a group of graduate students rose to the top of the competition during the 30th University of Houston-Victoria College of Business Master of Business Administration subject conference.

Fort Bend’s Kevin Chen, Tomball’s John Demore, Houston’s Isis Amor Oburu Mitoho and Houston’s Justin Pitman were on the team that was ranked first in the competition. The conference took place through Microsoft Teams on December 3 and included 46 students in 13 teams.

Graduate students in the main course “Strategic Management Seminar” spent the fall semester analyzing the company individually and in teams. This semester, students prepared presentations about EOG Resources, an American energy company engaged in hydrocarbon exploration.

“It’s an amazing feeling and a great achievement for our team to be first in the competition,” Demore said. “As a team we first talked about our strengths and assigned deliverables or tasks that helped organize our team for success. We were in constant communication to support each other or review ideas that really exemplified our teamwork. This project showcased our programming skills and I am very proud of the work our team did. It was a great moment for us to win.”

The competition is a long-standing tradition and a comprehensive educational event of the UHV Business School. The project for the competition is an integration and application of all the courses in the MBA program, said Charlie Huang, associate professor of management at UHV and instructor for the course.

Students apply everything they’ve learned in the program to analyze a real company and create a presentation to present to a panel of judges made up of UHV faculty, local business leaders, university supporters and UHV College of Business alumni. Huang also oversaw the first three teams.

EOG Resources was chosen as the company to analyze because it is a public company with readily available information for students to analyze. It’s also located in Houston, an area where many students will either have or pursue careers, Huang said.

Students had to identify several strategic issues of the company and formulate a strategy with a real plan, after conducting a comprehensive research of the company’s external and internal business environment. The students were not only required to design and justify a sound strategy, but also to present a projection of the outcome of the implementation.

Although the project is time-consuming and research- and writing-intensive, it is extremely rewarding, Huang said.

Students learn how to collect data, create analysis, write a solid report, and make constructive recommendations based on evidence and logical reasoning. Students also practice giving a formal business presentation.

“This project is about how the entire program ties together to equip our students with the skills they will need in the real world,” Huang said. “Through experiential learning, students present a case study of a real company, bridging the gap between textbook knowledge and real-world problems. It is a strong competition, and students come out of it better and more confident in their abilities. The winning teams were well-rounded in their academic rigor, quality of written report and formal presentation, and I am impressed by the students’ performance.”

Demore, who earned his MBA with a concentration in management in December, sees the project as a great way to showcase the knowledge he’s gained from all the courses he’s taken at UHV. Work on the project lasted most of the semester, and the team was setting critical key dates and deliverables to adhere to, he said.

The most intensive and important part of the project was the research of the company, the industry and its competitors for a proper analysis. This included research into the company’s challenges, industry drivers, company financials and risk assessments. The group came up with four different recommendations before finally choosing the winning recommendation, which was based on the company’s plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The group recommended that EOG Resources acquire a solar energy company, which would align with the company’s mission statement and help gain several strategic advantages for their future without disrupting current operations.

Demore, who works as a sales director for a corrosion prevention company, appreciates the skills he learned that can help him in his current job and career. The project can also help those who want to steer their career into a new industry or business as the skills learned by the students are easily transferable.

The other teams that made it to the MBA Case Conference were:

Second place – Jennifer Sanchez, Houston, and Andres Emdad and Aarti Dsouza, Spring.

Third place – Alex Bruscianelli, Katy, Denise Hernandez, Victoria, and Thao Truong, Houston.

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