MBA Students Take First Place in Ethics Case Competition

Daniels Ethics Initiative Case Competition winners from left to right, Charmaine Brown, Chris Marsh, Grant Stump, Maureen Phenix, Racheal Guse and Courtney LaBrie

A team of six CSU College of Business MBA students took first place in the annual Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Case Competition, earning top marks from a panel of industry leaders and outperforming 10 teams from universities across Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

The students came together from across three different MBA programs to demonstrate how ethics can serve as a foundation for decision-making and what that looks like when approaching business challenges.

For the competition, each team analyzed an ethical challenge and gave a presentation on how they’d go about solving the issue using ethical principles. Afterward, the teams received new information — a twist on the case that introduced a crisis. They had just four hours to reanalyze their original recommendations and make a second presentation to the judges incorporating the new information.

Although responding to the crisis came as a surprise, it was one for which the CSU team was prepared.

“We found a really good rhythm of working together,” said Racheal Guse, a sales manager pursuing her degree through the Online MBA program. “We were equal contributors, so for the final presentation we didn’t feel stressed, we just felt very focused.”

As part of her coursework, Guse took part in the Ethical Leadership Symposium, and was excited to bring that knowledge back to her organization, where leaders place a strong emphasis on ethics.

“The MBA program not only helps you identify and refine your values but also gives you the tools to communicate them and involve them in every decision that you make,” Guse said. “It’s that holistic point of view – that everyone deserves respect and to be treated that way – that’s at the core of ethics.”

That depth of experience was well regarded by the panel of judges, which was comprised of business and community leaders,  which ultimately awarded the team first place.

“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.”

Ethics in the College of Business

Jim Parke, President & CEO at Otter Products, presents at the College of Business’s student-run Business Day about how ethical decision making informs the company’s business decisions.

The College of Business believes that strong ethics are the foundation of any business education. By partnering with the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Collegiate Program, we are able to bring ethics education into every classroom, reaching thousands of students each year with principle-based ethics instruction that reinforces the value of ethical behavior, both professionally and personally.

“As organizations and individuals collectively work towards solving some of the most pressing challenges across our communities, locally and nationally, we must prepare future leaders to make complex decisions ethically,” said Dean Beth Walker. “The Daniels Ethics Fund Initiative helps make this happen by supporting key learning opportunities for our students and equipping them to be the ethical leaders our world needs.”

Read more about the College’s ethics framework >