Two different case studies written by MBA students from Samford University's Brock School of Business recently were selected as finalists for an international 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 conference in San Francisco.
Laura Hudson, Joshua Sheppard, Xuan Qin, and Andrew Summerlin wrote the case: "Charlie Thigpen's Garden Gallery," last summer under the supervision of Chad Carson, associate dean in the Brock School of Business. This case focused on the opportunities and challenges faced by the Birmingham retailer, and students suggested potential avenues to expand the business. Cindy Thigpen, owner of the Garden Gallery,noted that the project had particularly helped focus the business' social media efforts.
Hudson, a group member pursuing a concentration in Entrepreneurship as part of her MBA studies, commented, "Owning your own company involves a large amount of trial and error. I really enjoyed addressing these challenges by being forced to think outside of the box to identify possible solutions while writing the case."
MBA student Meg Lozner wrote the case, "Southern Grits to Haute Cuisine: Much More Than a Taste of the South," to highlight how Birmingham could be marketed nationally as a center for culinary tourism, based on its local restaurant and farmer's market scene. She examined four other major U.S. cities that promote themselves as culinary destinations, and challenged readers to develop solutions for Birmingham, based on the city's unique strengths. Lozner said her desire to write this case was fueled both by her experience as finalist in the USASBE competition last year as well as her belief that "food is the strongest tie to an area's culture, and Birmingham's food scene should not go unnoticed."
"We are extremely grateful for this national recognition of our MBA program and students," said Carson. "We are the only school to have had students selected as finalists every year since this international competition began three years ago. We're also the only school to have ever had two of the final six teams, and our students have now accomplished this distinction two years in a row. "
Other schools with finalists include Baylor University, Bryant University (Rhode Island), Hyderabad University (India), and Loyola Marymount University.
"We are obviously delighted that our students have been selected from an international field of competitors," said Howard Finch, dean of the Brock School of Business. "Building a world-class entrepreneurship program is a key strategic goal for the Brock School of Business, and this recognition shows that our students can compete on an international level. In addition, these consulting projects have given them important opportunities to help develop solutions both for localbusinesses and for the entire Birmingham region."