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Jason Gorman, Benjamin Fujii and Connor Kennelly

Team places 3rd in Prestigious Ethics Event

By Allison R. Stormo

A University of Idaho student team from the College of Business and Economics shined above dozens of universities across the U.S. and Canada, and was honored with a third-place award in a prestigious ethics competition.

The team of Benjamin Fujii, Connor Kennelly and alternative Jason Gorman competed in the 10th Annual Eller College of Management Collegiate Ethics Case Competition at the University of Arizona in late October. They contended in the invitation-only event in a sea of 32 schools to be ranked only behind Boston College and University of Florida – beating teams from Purdue, Pennsylvania State, Georgetown and Syracuse universities.

“We have excellent classes [in CBE] and students willing to compete that will put us on the map,” said Fujii who is a junior studying finance and economics.

This is the third year that U-Idaho has competed. About a month before the competition, the teams are given the ethics case study in which they collaboratively analyze, present and respond to the topic in front of the panel of judges.

The team stood alone in its response to “Fracking – The Stakeholders, the Issues and What to Advise Maryland’s Governor O’Malley and Staff on the Issue.” They were the only team to advise against reintroducing fracking in Maryland based on required financial, legal and philosophical considerations. The team came to that conclusion with no shortage of effort.

“Once we got the case study, we prepared at least four hours a night for a couple of weeks,” said Kennelly who is majoring in business economics and information systems.

In Arizona, teams were divided into four brackets where each team spent 20 minutes presenting their case to about eight judges. The teams then answered a series of questions in a Q&A format. The top team in the four brackets went on to compete at the finals in front of more than 30 judges, in addition to the nonfinalist teams and students from Eller College.

Gorman, who watched on the sidelines with mentor Jeff Bailey, interim associate dean, commended his teammates on their professionalism.

“They did really well. They were calm, cool and collected,” he said. “They didn’t seem nervous at all. They didn’t trip up.”

The student success in this national competition is a great beginning to what will soon be a new initiative at the college focused on ethics and leadership.