Whitman SIFE team takes fourth at national competition
Whitman SIFE team takes fourth at national competitionMarch 05, 2007Amy Schmitzaemehrin@syr.edu
A team of four Whitman School of Management students, representing the Syracuse University chapter of Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE), was awarded fourth place and $1,000 at the national Duel in the Desert competition in Tucson, Ariz., on March 3. Twenty-four teams from universities across the country competed in the contest funded by Take Charge America, a Phoenix-based nonprofit offering financial education, credit counseling and debt management services.
Team members are Michael Krebs, a senior double major in supply chain management and entrepreneurship; Megan McDermott, a sophomore double major in retail management and marketing; Kerry Shea, a senior double major in marketing and finance; and Ryan Sak, a senior finance major. Faculty advisor to SU’s SIFE chapter is Amanda Nicholson, assistant professor of retail management in the Department of Marketing.
On the evening of March 1, the teams were given an original case study about a hypothetical Native American family of five who were living on the Tohono O’odham Reservation near Tucson and facing difficult financial challenges. Teams had 36 hours to research the situation and design a reasonable, creative plan to resolve the family’s immediate dilemma and improve their longer-range financial health and well-being. Regional economics, geography, resources and cultural differences all had to be taken into consideration.
On the morning of March 3, teams presented their recommendations to a judging panel, competing in four leagues of six teams each. The four winners of each league presented again in the final round in the afternoon, facing all 40 of the event judges.
“A number of judges made a point to come up to us between sessions to comment on our presentation skills,” says team member Shea. “Ryan, Mike and I had great preparation and practice on that front, having taken the Whitman capstone course in the fall semester.”
Established just one year ago, SU’s SIFE chapter is already making a name for itself in the national SIFE community and stepping forward as SIFE leaders. In November, the Whitman School was host to one of 12 Take Charge America regional duels, the “Duel on the Finger Lakes.” In March 2006, SU’s SIFE team was named regional champions and Rookie of the Year at the regional SIFE competition. In May 2006, the team was named Rookie of the Year at the National SIFE Competition.
The Duel competitions were developed to increase financial literacy among college students. According to the credit card industry, the average American household is carrying about $9,000 worth of high-interest debt, which doesn’t include mortgages. Nationwide, the Federal Reserve says Americans have amassed $800 billion in credit card debt. To help combat this problem, SIFE students are able to enhance their awareness of money management through this case study analysis.
Founded in 1975, SIFE has grown to become one of the largest collegiate organizations in the world. SIFE teams are active on more than 1,700 college and university campuses in 42 countries around the world. In the United States, about 900 schools are enrolled in SIFE. Working together as a team, and through faculty advisor(s) mentoring, SIFE students apply their classroom experiences to develop and implement educational outreach programs that teach individuals in their communities the principles of market economics, entrepreneurship, personal financial success and business ethics.