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College of Business wins big at 2024 SAM International Collegiate Business Skills Championship

(April 9, 2024) - Clayton State’s College of Business is celebrating an outgoing group of seniors who made sure to leave their mark on their university before walking at commencement.

The 2024 Clayton State University team is all smiles after winning several awards in Orlando, Florida

At the 2024 SAM International Collegiate Business Skills Championship in Orlando, Florida, seniors Calvin Smith, Royal Brown, Tiffany Richardson, Muosa Sheikh, and Glenn Hayes collectively took home the second-place award for Written Case Study and the third-place award for Overall Team Championship while representing Clayton State University.

And they didn’t stop there.

Individually, Smith took home three awards – a tie for first place in Business Pitch, first place for Three-minute Thesis Flight #2, and third place for Extemporaneous Speech.

Additionally, Richardson finished in third place for the championship’s Three-minute Thesis Flight #1 while Sheikh was awarded first place in the Three-minute Thesis Flight #4.

Coaching the talented band of business students was none other than Assistant Professor of Management Dr. Everod Davis, who said it was an absolute pleasure getting to work with the soon-to-be graduates.

“I am extremely proud of how well our students represented themselves, and by extension, Clayton State University,” Davis said. “They exhibited professionalism and dedication as they navigated the conference while interacting and establishing new networks.”

As a team, the Laker seniors were given a case study that centered on AHCN – a subscription-based healthcare system looking to expand in Savannah, Georgia; Tampa, Florida; and Chicago, Illinois.

“The approach we took after a few meetings was to first define the strengths of AHCN and do a SWOT analysis,” Smith said. “We had a rubric to go off of and just studied the competitors. From there, we had some ways that this company could differentiate themselves from big players, like Blue Cross.”

Smith added that a marketing plan, a five-year implementation plan, and a financial forecast also completed the case study.

“It had to be 10 pages maximum,” Richardson added. “It’s funny because usually in school, you get a 10-page paper and think, ‘how are we going to make this work?’ By the time we had all of our research done, we had 14 pages. ‘We have to condense this,’ we thought ... that’s never happened before!”

One may think that based on the team’s award-winning collaboration and success that they had known each other for a considerable amount of time on campus before dominating in Orlando.

But, in fact, it was the polar opposite.

Most of the team hadn’t met each other until February 2024.

And even then, most meetings were virtual.

It wasn’t until the team physically made the drive to Florida that most of its members met each other in person for the first time.

“It was a bonding experience,” Smith said. “We had to get to know each other, and Dr. Davis said to merge our energies. We all brought different personalities and strengths.

Hayes particularly brought priceless knowledge into the group, being the lone veteran of the event. Before even packing to leave for Orlando, he made sure to provide both professional insight and presentation tips to his new teammates.

“They were strongly mentally prepared,” Hayes said. “Just seeing how hard they actually worked, it really excited me. It made me feel a little bit of joy. Competing against other schools that some would never even have the mindset of going against while coming from ‘little old Clayton State ...’ it showed their determination and how they work and cooperate together. That really showed that they wanted this.”

The collaboration between all on the team even made an impact on the students’ individual awards, as well.

When asked where Smith’s mindset was while winning three personal awards, he simply gave credit to his teammates and said their advice helped further fuel his already competitive nature.

 “Royal couldn’t stay, but he put something in my ear that I eventually used for the three-minute thesis,” Smith said. “Dr. Davis and Tiffany helped me out with forming Puppy Mate, which was my business pitch. I just wanted to do good for myself and for my school, because that's just how I operate.”

Having since returned to campus, awards well-earned, each Laker on this year’s business skills team now feels a further sense of pride and eagerness in their work as they look to wrap up their collegiate journeys.

Richardson, Sheikh, Smith, Brown, and Hayes expressed gratitude toward their many professors in the College of Business, particularly Dr. Carin Lightner-Laws, Dr. Reza Kheirandish, and Dr. Stacey Reynolds, who also attended the conference to provide further tips and support to the team.

They said that thanks to all hands involved in their academic journeys, not only did they feel confident in their various victories in Florida, but they also feel ready for what lies ahead after they walk at commencement and begin their professional careers.

“We had one of the smallest teams there and we still placed third,” said Richardson, recalling some collegiate teams having close to 20 students. “That says a lot because you get points for everything you participate in. They should have been racking up points. For us to still place while being up against that type of competition says a lot about our studies, our professors, the cognition we have ... just everything.”

But more than anything, the team could not stop thanking Dr. Davis, who they said provided them with not just educational guidance during the competition, but personal guidance, as well.

Davis said he will remember this team well beyond the graduation of each student that made it up and thanked them all for making his coaching duties “easy” in Orlando.

“It really was a pleasure,” Davis said. “They had a kind of enthusiasm, a determination, a tenacity ... it’s an excellent group of students. For me, it really provided an opportunity to help invest in and develop our students. I embraced it with enthusiasm. I’m extremely proud of them.”

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