Brock School of Business Students Selected as Finalists for a National Case Competition



Birmingham, Ala. – Two different case studies, one written by two M.B.A., students and another by an undergraduate student from Samford University’s Brock School of Business recently were selected as finalists for a national case writing competition sponsored by Baylor University. The competition is hosted by the U.S. Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) the largest independent, professional, academic organization in the world focused on advancing entrepreneurship, and winners will be announced in January at its national conference in New Orleans. 

Meg Lozner and Angela Fister, Brock M.B.A. students, wrote the case, “Pepper Place District and the Culinary Initiatives,” under the supervision of Chad Carson, Associate Dean , during an Entrepreneurship elective course last summer.  Students in this course conducted research on a small business and then wrote both a case detailing its current situation and an instructor’s guide recommending what the business should do in the future.  Lozner and Fister’s case focused on  the Executive Director of Pepper Place in Birmingham, Cathy Crenshaw’s, efforts to revitalize and attract people to Pepper Place for reasons other than the successful Saturday Farmers Market.  The case study examines the possible creation of a commercial kitchen that could be part of a restaurant, cooking school or kitchen incubator to support local entrepreneurs who are interested in starting a restaurant or catering service by highlighting the possible advantages and disadvantages of each option. 

Lozner commented, “I'm so incredibly honored to be a part of this competition!  Working on the case this summer was fascinating because the class focused on a project that really has the potential to positively impact the Birmingham community.  We could have studied consulting and entrepreneurship through others' writings, but getting to do it on our own was very exciting. I love small business and entrepreneurship, specifically the people and the personal drive that lead them, and seeing how they can really shape a community.  Writing this case just really deepened that interest and appreciation.  Hopefully presenting this in New Orleans will showcase the ability of small businesses to really transform society. 


“We are extremely grateful for this national recognition of M.B.A. students,” said Carson.  “We have recently added an Entrepreneurship concentration to our M.B.A. program, and this is the second year in a row we have had a team selected as a finalist for this national competition focusing on entrepreneurship issues.”   


Underclassman Kley Sippel, a Brock Scholar honor student, wrote:  "From Poverty to Prosperity" during an independent study supervised by Carson last summer.  The case was the result of a study abroad program Sippel had in January, when he worked with the South African non-governmental organization, Living Way. The organization’s mission is to reduce poverty in a country still suffering the consequences of apartheid (legalized segregation).  Sippel served as part of a student consulting team that developed an entrepreneurship workshop that the Living Way’s director can use to help find and develop promising entrepreneurs.  The case focused on the director’s decision about whether the workshop would work in South Africa, and, if so, how it would be implemented.   


Sippel plans to use the case as a basis for his senior Brock Scholars thesis.  His trip was supported by Samford’s Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership and the Brock Scholars programs, and his summer research was supported by an Alabama Power Foundation grant through the Samford University Fellows program.  Sippel said, “This case represents, in many ways, a masterpiece portfolio of my undergraduate experience. As I freshman I learned how to examine articles and explore scholarly work, and during the next few years I learned how become a scholar in my field. Now, as a senior, I have the privilege and blessing of learning from others, finding my own questions to answer, traveling the world to explore them, and then publishing my findings. It is rewarding to re-invest in the learning system that has invested so much in me during the past four years." 


“We are very proud of Kley for being the only undergraduate student selected as finalist for this competition,” said Carson.  “He is conducting important research on how entrepreneurs can succeed in developing economies, and we look forward to his presentation at the conference.” 


Other schools with finalists include the Rotterdam School of Management (the Netherlands), Memorial University (Newfoundland, Canada), Queens University of Charlotte (North Carolina), and Manhattan College (New York). 


“We are obviously thrilled that our students have been selected from an international field of competitors,” said Howard Finch, dean of the Brock School of Business.  “We also are grateful that our undergraduate and MBA students wrote nationally recognized cases under Dr. Carson’s direction examining entrepreneurship’s role in economic development.  These fit well with our focus on both entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship in the Brock School of Business.” 


To be eligible for the competition, cases had to focus on entrepreneurship issues in new, small, family, or large businesses. Winning cases will be announced January 14, 2012  and cash prizes of $2,000 for first, $1,000 for second and $500 for third place will be awarded.  

About the Brock School of Business at Samford University:
The renaming of the Samford School of Business to the Brock School of Business in December 2007 is the latest in a long history of achievements for business education at Samford, which has offered degrees in business and commerce since 1922.  In 1965, the School of Business was established to offer both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business.  Alabama’s first part-time master of business administration degree program was established at Samford, and the first MBA degrees were awarded in 1967.  The master of accountancy degree was approved in 1995.  The business school was fully accredited by AACSB International in 1999, a recognition earned by less than 10 percent of business schools worldwide. The Brock School entrepreneurship program was chosen as the best new entrepreneurship in the U.S. in 2010 by the U.S. Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship.