A team of two students faced off against three other College of Business teams at the Deloitte Women in Business Case Competition, all of whom had three or four members contributing to the challenge. The outnumbered team, Miranda White and Hannah Mismas, lost their third team member just a few days into the weeks-long competition, leaving them with yet another challenge to tackle in pursuit of the first–place prize of $5,000.
On competition day, a fall Friday in November, the four teams gathered to present their solutions to a group of industry expert panelists. This year’s all-women panel featured the College of Business’ Professor Emeritus Vickie Bajtelsmit, Stacey Wilson, Vanessa Louis-Woolley, Kelly Leger and Brittany Mitchell. The case scenario focused on advancing diversity, equity and inclusion within an activist brand.
With careful preparation, the four teams presented business solutions, but the duo, White and Mismas, proposed the winning idea.
“We were not expecting first place, then they called our names, and we both looked at each other in shock — we were so excited,” said White, a senior in the finance department. “It felt really good because everyone else had a team of three or four people and it was just the two of us.”
Despite having to make a last-minute pivot, White and Mismas proved their ease and willingness to adapt to the situation and still manage a win.
At the end of the competition, teams had the opportunity to speak with the judges for professional feedback on their presentations. The panel featured a diverse group of businesswomen in various directorial roles, including a few women from the event’s sponsor, Deloitte, a business consulting firm.
The judges’ broad background experience allowed them to provide supplementary knowledge necessary for the students’ growth.
“You’re never going to get better without feedback,” White said. “You can give yourself as much feedback as you want and it’s important [to do so], but it’s not going to take you to the next level unless you’re also getting outside feedback.”
Preparing women business leaders
Andrea Karapas, director of the Career Management Center, staff advisor for the CSU Women in Business Association and organizer of the competition, had two primary goals for students participating in the competition.
The first was to “increase the number of female-identifying students who compete in case competitions in the College by centering cases on complex issues impacting women in the workplace and elevating cases with female protagonists with the intention of uplifting the voices and talent of women in our College.” The second was “to raise awareness to the issues impacting women in business and bring them to the forefront of ‘signature experiences’ for our students in the College.”
The event proved meaningful for the student participants. White said the case scenario highlighting topics of intersectionality between gender and race was important to her as a mixed-race woman.
“As I begin to get into the corporate world and out of college, as a woman in general, people don’t always see your opinions or thoughts as valid as much as they should, and when you’re also a woman of color, it just adds together,” White said. “[Having a case scenario focused on this] was cool to be able to look at, because it’s something that’s always affected me, and I have noticed it more as I get into the professional workforce.”
After graduation, White will join Deloitte as a technology analyst in the Business Technology Solutions Department.
About CSU’s College of Business
The College of Business at Colorado State University is focused on using business to create a better world.
As an AACSB-accredited business school, the College is among the top five percent of business colleges worldwide, providing programs and career support services to more than 2,500 undergraduate and 1,300 graduate students. Faculty help students across our top-ranked on-campus and online programs develop the knowledge, skills and values to navigate a rapidly evolving business world and address global challenges with sustainable business solutions. Our students are known for their creativity, work ethic and resilience—resulting in an undergraduate job offer and placement rate of over 90% within 90 days of graduation.
The College’s highly ranked programs include its Online MBA, which has been ranked the No. 1 program in Colorado by U.S. News and World Report for five years running and achieved No. 16 for employability worldwide from QS Quacquarelli Symonds. The College’s Impact MBA is also ranked by Corporate Knights as a Top 20 “Better World MBA” worldwide.