The Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative’s ninth annual Collegiate Program Case Competition took place April 16. The Case Competition exposes college students to a thought-provoking business ethics case, and is designed to challenge students’ ethical reasoning, give them tools for ethical decision-making, and raise awareness of the importance of principle-based ethics.
The event included two separate competition tracks — one for undergraduate students and another for graduate students. For the first time ever, the competition was held in a live virtual format, due to COVID-19 considerations, with students participating from across Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.
In the undergraduate track, students from University of Northern Colorado’s Monfort College of Business were the first place winners. The second place team was from University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business and the third place team was from the University of Wyoming’s College of Business. Students from Colorado State University’s College of Business placed first in the graduate competition. University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business placed second and University of Colorado Denver’s Business School placed third in the graduate track.
“This was an amazing opportunity, I learned so much,” said Racheal Guse from the CSU graduate team. “It was the highlight of my MBA experience.”
In advance of the competition, teams were provided with a business ethics case involving a fictional defense industry technology company, specializing in artificial intelligence and biological experiments. Students take on the role of an ethics consulting firm hired by the company’s board of directors to help deal with ethical issues and risks at the company.
Each team analyzed the ethical issues involved and presented their prepared recommendations to a panel of judges. After their presentation, the teams received new information — a twist on the case that introduced a crisis. They had just four hours to re-analyze their original recommendations, and make a second presentation to the judges incorporating the new information.
“This competition is designed to help students prepare for the real world by learning how to incorporate ethical decision-making into situations similar to what they might face in their professional careers,” said Hanna Skandera, President & CEO of the Daniels Fund. “It was impressive to see how well the teams performed and were able to pivot when they received the crisis part of the case.”
Panels of judges for each track were comprised of business and community leaders who played the role of the company’s board of directors. Jandel Allen-Davis, CEO & President of Craig Hospital, served as head judge for the graduate track and Mark Cordova, Founder & President of Centennial Bolt, served as head judge for the undergraduate track. The panels of judges included Albus Brooks, Vice President of Business Development & Public Affairs at Milender White; Ted Harms, Executive Director of the Anschutz Foundation; Richard Martinez, President & CEO of Young Americans Center for Financial Education and Young Americans Bank; Christopher Picardi, Senior Vice President of KeyBank; Mary Rhinehart, Chairman of Johns Mansville; Mike Talamantes, Managing Director at RBC Capital Markets; and Robin Wise, President & CEO of Junior Achievement – Rocky Mountain.
Judges evaluated presentations against established criteria, including the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Principles: integrity, trust, accountability, transparency, fairness, respect, rule of law, and viability.
Eleven undergraduate and eleven graduate student teams participated in this unique competition, designed exclusively for business schools that are part of the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Collegiate Program from Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. In addition to the top teams already mentioned, there were competing teams from: Colorado Mesa University’s Department of Business, New Mexico State University’s College of Business, University of Colorado Boulder’s Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado Colorado Springs’ College of Business, University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business, and University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management. Students from the University of Colorado Law School served as legal advisors to each of the teams.
About the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Collegiate Program
Reflecting Bill Daniels’ personal commitment to ethics and integrity, the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Collegiate Program was established in 2010 to instill a high standard of ethics in students and strengthen principle-based ethics education in participating schools. The current phase of the program consists of twelve business and law school university partners in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. To date, more than 450,000 students, faculty, and business people have been impacted by the Collegiate Program.