Opportunities to apply business skills to real-life corporate situations don’t have to wait until after graduation. A team of six students from the College of Business Administration at Florida International University (FIU) who participated in the 2010 Johnson and Johnson (J&J) Business Case Competition held this spring can certainly attest to that.
After months of preparation, the group presented its business analysis and recommendation at J&J headquarters in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Ten teams from top business schools around the country participated in this year’s competition, won by the University of Illinois.
The FIU team, all members of the professional business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi, was Charles Chan, Ruel James, Gabriel Marin, Maria Sabando, Lisette Velasquez and Alexis Zaldivar.
J&J sponsors the competition to challenge undergraduate students. This year’s case focused on how a healthcare company could expand its cardiovascular franchise. Students had to analyze and recommend the best of three options: co-developing a pharmaceutical drug, internally developing a medical device or acquiring an emerging technology.
“The skills I have learned at FIU, including applying Porter’s five forces of competition, were very valuable,” said Chan, a senior majoring in finance and marketing. “We also used SWOT analysis (a strategic planning tool evaluating Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) to help reach a decision.”
Sabando, a junior majoring in international business and management information systems, served as team captain.
“Each team member participated in the presentation made to J&J top executives,” Sabando said. “Plus, we benefited from other experiences during the competition, such as a networking dinner and panel discussions.”
On-campus win paves way for national effort.
The team earned the right to advance to the J&J nationals after competing with other teams at FIU, an event coordinated by Anneli Hilpinen (MBA ’10, BBA ’06), Ernst & Young Student Learning Lab manager, and Anezka Martinez-Rios, (BBA ’01), assistant to the associate dean.
Judges for the campus competition included Sharon Lassar, director of the School of Accounting, and Xiaoquan Jiang, assistant professor, Department of Finance and Real Estate.
“This team’s presentation showed their solid training in business,” Jiang said. “I was impressed by their understanding of the case.”