Charlie Dwyer, Vivian Hou, Colleen Tobin and Yichi Zhang recently traveled to Boston, Mass., to compete against 15 of the nation’s leading business schools in Northeastern University’s Consortium of Undergraduate International Business Education (CUIBE) Case Competition. While they might not have taken home a trophy, the students learned lessons and made memories that will be with them for years to come.

CUIBE’s objective is to facilitate the sharing of best practices in international business among students from top business schools. Students are given a case study and have 24 hours to develop a business plan before presenting in front of a panel of financial, accounting and consulting expert judges.

Being the only student who competed in last year’s CUIBE competition, Zhang helped recruit the other team members. “When I competed in CUIBE last year, it was mind blowing,” Zhang said. “I wanted to be more prepared for this year’s competition and spoke with our faculty advisor, Dr. Tallman, to recruit other team members.” While Dwyer and Tobin had never worked on a case study before CUIBE, they both were interested in trying a new experience and were encouraged by Dr. Tallman to join the team. “I found that working on a case study helped bring a lot of what I have learned at Richmond together, while simultaneously improving your teamwork, time management and other skills. I would recommend this experience in a heartbeat,” Tobin said.

Each of the team members applied their learning to the case study and contributed to the team’s success. “The study was composed of so much information—we had to synthesize it and break it into parts,” Dwyer said. “It was challenging, because at first we had no direction, since the study did not outline a very specific problem,” Hou said. “That really pushed us to tackle a lot of issues in a short amount of time while determining how to present our findings. Seeing all our work come together during our presentation was really exciting.”

While the team only made it through the first round of judging, each student said they have come a long way since first coming together as a team. “One of the great rewards of the process was receiving feedback from our mentors, advisors and the judges at CUIBE. We were all happy with our presentation, but learning how to improve is very helpful,” Dwyer said. “Two people I really want to thank are Nettie Meluch and Dr. Tallman. They both committed so much of their time to helping build our team and had such high standards for us. Receiving their praise after competing was very fulfilling,” Zhang said.

Hou and Tobin both agree that witnessing the growth of their team was very rewarding. “Seeing the way our team transformed from our first practice presentation to our final presentation was so great,” Hou said.  “We worked so well as a team and even if we didn’t place, it was worth it to see how much progress we made,” Tobin added.

All agree they would highly recommend this experience to other students. “Few have the chance to compete with top students from leading business schools. One day those students will be your competitors for jobs. Developing your skills with an experience like CUIBE is something that will benefit me in my professional development when I am searching for a career,” Zhang said. While the rest of Richmond’s team will graduate in May, Tobin is looking forward to next year’s competition. “I have seen where we need to improve, and I am excited to see how far we can go when Richmond competes again,” she said.