Terry College students Kevin Kamau, Sophia Ige, Lauryn Sanders and Phillip Ellington are more than a year from graduating, but they already know what to look for in an employer.
That knowledge gave them extra perspective when they were asked to develop a recruitment plan for Generation Z graduates as part of a national Undergraduate Business Case Competition held by the National Black MBA Association in late September.
Their team, the first to represent Terry College at the event, topped teams from Emory University, the University of Southern California and Purdue University to take home first prize and $15,000.
“It was exciting and a little surprising because we haven’t had a team in this competition before,” said Sanders, who is majoring in marketing and international business. “But it goes to show that as Terry students, we have the opportunity and background to dominate in those kinds of environments. I’m glad we had the chance to prove we have what it takes to compete on a national level.”
Randy Groomes, director of diversity, equity and inclusion for Terry College, and Abdul Sesay, assistant professor of management information systems, recruited the team to participate in the competition after learning the NBMBAA Annual Conference and Expo was in Atlanta this fall. Sesay and Groomes served as the group’s faculty advisors.
“From our first meeting we knew there was something special about this team,” Groomes said. “Their desire to win matched their drive, creativity, and intellectual ability.”
Without knowing any previous competitors, team members turned to videos of past competitions and spent several hours each week working on their plan and presentation.
Working on the case gave the students insight into what it would be like to work in a consulting firm and a team after graduation, they said.
“We knew we would have some stiff competition, and we knew it was UGA’s first time competing in this event,” said Ellington, a risk management and insurance. “So we were underdogs — no pun intended. But we did believe in ourselves, and we grew to be almost like a small family because we were meeting 20 hours a week in the two weeks leading up to the event. When you really put your mind to it, you want to be on that podium, and you don’t want to settle.
The team plans to divide the $15,000 scholarship among the teammates.