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UW Student Team Third in Business Ethics Competition

April 30, 2021

A University of Wyoming undergraduate team placed third in the recent Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Collegiate Program Case Competition. The program challenges students’ ethical reasoning, provides tools for ethical decision-making and raises awareness of the importance of principle-based ethics.

Each of the 12 participating teams that are part of the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Collegiate Program from Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah was provided, in advance, with a business ethics case. The scenario involved a fictional defense industry technology company specializing in artificial intelligence and biological experiments.

During the virtual competition, students from the University of Northern Colorado’s Monfort College of Business were the first-place winners, and the second-place team was from the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business.

The six UW team members representing the UW College of Business, listed by hometowns and majors, are:

Casper -- Kendra Brutsman, finance with an accounting minor.

Cheyenne -- Kylee Johnston, chemical engineering with a management minor.

Laramie -- Grant Asay, management.

Loveland, Colo. -- Joe Rubald, entrepreneurship.

Riverton -- Troy Cassity, management and marketing.

Succasunna, N.J. -- Jessica Nagie, chemical engineering with a management minor.

Management Associate Professor Chase Thiel, UW’s Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Collegiate Program Professor of Business Ethics, served as the team’s adviser.

“I could not be more proud of the performance turned in by our students. Their third-place finish -- in a very tough competition -- is evidence of their hard work, creativity and teamwork,” Thiel says. “Not only did they represent UW well, they learned how to navigate complex ethical dilemmas and solve these types of problems in ethical, legal and financially sound ways. These students have a bright future ahead of them.”

Students in the competition took on the role of an ethics consulting firm hired by the case study’s fictional company’s board of directors to help with ethical issues and risks. Each of the 12 regional competing teams analyzed the ethical issues involved and presented its prepared recommendations to a panel of judges.

As part of the competition, a new crisis was introduced after each of the team’s original presentations. Each team then had four hours to reanalyze its original recommendations and make a second presentation to the judges incorporating the new information that was provided.

The competition was a way to apply critical thinking and collaboration skills she developed during her time at the College of Business, Brutsman says.

“I enjoyed being able to collaborate with my teammates and develop friendships throughout the process of preparing and competing,” Brutsman says. “Our team also had immense support from the College of Business during the case competition process, which shows their dedication to experiential learning opportunities.”

Nagie says the competition was unlike anything she has ever experienced before.

“It was really awesome to see how our final recommendations and presentation came together in the end,” she says. “I think our crisis management presentation really showed how cohesive we were as a team and how Professor Thiel thoroughly prepared us for success. The amount of knowledge I gained during this experience is irreplaceable.”

Cassity adds that the Daniels Fund case competition was among highlights of his UW college experience.

“The competition was challenging, motivating and enlightening from the preparations we did months prior to the day of the competition,” he says. “I am so proud of our team for placing third and representing the University of Wyoming College of Business well.”

He also praises his dedicated UW team members for being “such hard-working, wonderful individuals.”

UW is among 12 member schools in the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Collegiate Program’s consortium. Launched in 2012, the case competition exposes students to a thought-provoking business ethics case similar to situations they might face in their professional careers.

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