Four international business students won first place in at the University of Missouri St. Louis (UMSL) International Business Case Competition in April. They are the first group of University of Richmond students to win the competition.

Pictured left to right, international students Robin Kim, ’17 (South Korea), Carin Ivarsson, ’18  (Sweden), Valentina Mazzoni, ’18 (Slovenia), and Cathy Shi, ’17 (China), returned to campus from the competition with a new prize for the school.

They competed against multiple teams from other schools across the U.S. to solve an actual issue that a company is currently confronting in its global business interactions.

“We worked on a case for Edward Jones. Our job was to recommend a set of strategies so that they can adapt to the changing customer culture and demographics, such as millennials, immigrants, and racially diverse group of customers,” said Robin Kim. 

He and the rest of his team worked together to put together solutions for the financial advisory company. Then, they presented their findings to executives from the St. Louis area that are conducting business globally.

“It was frustrating at first due to the very little data we were given upfront,” Kim said. “However, we learned along the way to make sound assumptions and work with a lot of ambiguity. Plus, it was a great place to hone my presentation skill.”

Cathy Shi agreed, and explained that courses at the Robins School specifically prepared her for this competition.

“We all worked out of our comfort zones,” she said. “But because of our courses, we knew how to handle it. We have all taken Strategic Management, an interdisciplinary capstone class, which covers the formulation and implementation of business strategies and involves many cases that are similar to the Edward Jones case.”

This is the second year that Robins students have attended the event. Last year, the students took third place. Dr. Tom Cosse, associate dean for international business programs at the Robins School of Business, says students gain significant experience in these competitions. 

“The students learn poise and how to remain cool in a pressure situation,” Dr. Cosse said. “Their victory is an indicator of the quality of the educational experience and training that the students received. It brings honor and recognition to the students and the school.”  

Dr. Cosse also mentioned the importance of students participating in these events, and gaining experience presenting in front of international executives.

“It is gratifying to see our students do so well outside of the halls of the business school,” Dr. Cosse said. “They performed at a high level in a new and different environment.”

And Kim says he continues to be grateful for this opportunity after graduation.

“I truly believe the education from University of Richmond is top notch,” Kim says. “I believe that any future team from the Robins School has the potential to win the competition every time by wide margin." 

You can find out more about the international business competition here