UW News

April 16, 2002

Spirit of globalization renewed at international competition

As the tragic events of Sept. 11 and the deadly crisis in the Middle East continue to put globalization to the test, students from three states and 12 countries are gathering this week to compete during the fourth annual Global Business Challenge at the University of Washington Business School.

The international business case competition runs through Saturday. Undergraduate students from Turkey as well as Botswana, China, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Jamaica, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand, will be joining students from Seattle University and Florida International University, the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Washington to compete.

How the terrorist attacks are affecting international business continues to be questioned by academics, world leaders and many of the competition’s students.

The event, in part, strengthens one argument for globalization by bringing business students together to learn about each other’s countries and business systems, said Debra Glassman, assistant faculty director for the Global Business Center.

“Since Sept. 11 we realize now more than ever that it’s important for us to understand the world around us and also for others to understand Americans and the United States,” Glassman said. “In that sense we build the event’s activities around allowing these students to get a face-to-face understanding of each other, something that they may not otherwise have the chance to do.”

Miro Mendl, an international affairs business major at the University of Economics in Prague, said the terrorist attacks on America still weigh heavily on the minds of Czechs.

“I think Americans have learned that even military groups from a poor country like Afghanistan can come to the U.S. and do a horrible thing,” Mendl said. “All of us need to get the advantage on globalization and not allow the terrorists to misuse free trade.”

Osman Albora, a double major in business administration and accounting at Koc University in Istanbul, Turkey, said such international competitions help lay the foundation for better future relations between countries.

“In the end it all comes down to being able to negotiate in business, politics, economics and even sports,” Abora said. “If we can carry feedback to our country maybe we can help understand each other.”

Because of the wide-range of representation from varying countries, student co-chair Alana Garrigues anticipates the competition will likely bring up thoughts and emotions spurred on by world affairs including the current Middle East crisis.

“Beliefs about the recent global business climate will certainly be different,” Garrigues said. “However, this will be a week of fun, celebration and friendship, and we anticipate providing a platform to share values regardless of the world picture.”

While similar case competitions are held elsewhere, the UW Business School’s competition is the only such event in the U.S. in which the case is internationally focused and the competitors are international, Glassman said.

After touring Seattle and area businesses early this week, the students will turn to the case competition on Thursday. Each team has only 48 hours to solve a strategic international business problem. Solutions are presented to judges from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Four teams advance to the finals and presenters make their cases to judges between 1:30 and 5:30 p.m. The finals, held in Mary Gates Hall room 389, are open to the public.

This year, 70 undergraduates are organizing everything from student tours of the UW libraries so teams can prepare for the competition to a community service project in which visiting students will teach middle schoolers about international child labor laws from 9:30 to 10:55 a.m., Tuesday at Hamilton Middle School, 1610 N. 41st St. in Seattle. They also help organize the final awards banquet from 7 p.m. to midnight Saturday, April 20 at the Washington Athletic Club, 1325 Sixth Ave.

The Global Business Challenge is produced by, and is supported by the school’s Global Business Center. Teams are judged on quality, creativity and professionalism in presenting their analysis of the business problem.

Sponsors include the Coca-Cola Co., Copan, Costco Wholesale Corp., Ford Motor Co., Frank Russell Co., Industrial Distribution Group, Starbucks Coffee Co. and the UW Business School’s E-Business Program. Travel expenses for the Turkey team are being paid for by L’Oreal Paris; for the Thailand team by EVA Air and for the Russian team by Vladivostok Air.


For more information or to interview team members contact Kirsten Aoyama, Global Business Center, at (206) 685-3433 or kjaoyama@u.washington.edu; or Debra Glassman, assistant faculty director, at (206) 543-8738 or dg2854@u.washington.edu  or visit http://depts.washington.edu/bacisb/gbc/  

In the United States contact:

At Florida International University contact Mernoush Banton, business professor, at (954) 741-2541 or Mernoush.Banton@fiu.edu  

At Seattle University, University contact Barbara Parker, professor of management, Albers School of Business and Economics, at (206) 726-9798 or PARKER@seattleu.edu  

In Texas, the contact Linda V. Gerber, senior lecturer and associate chair, Red McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, (512) 471-5480 or Linda.gerber@bus.utexas.edu  

Abroad contact:

In Botswana, contact Rebana Nelson Nmereki, business management professor, University of Botswana, at 267-355-2240 or mmerekirn@mopipi.ub.bw  

In Germany, contact Mischa Ritter, endowed chair of investment and risk management, European Business School, at 49 0-6723-69-286 or Mischa.Ritter@ebs.de  

In Istanbul, contact Lerzan Aksoy, assistant professor of marketing, Koc University, at laksoy@ku.edu.tr  

In Italy, contact Giuseppi C. Marelli, management professor, University of Torino, Italy, at 39-0171-383733 or marelli.giuseppe@multiwire.net  

In New Zealand, contact Darl Kolb, business professor, University of Auckland Business School in New Zealand, 64 9 810 8104 or d.kolb@auckland.ac.nz  

In Prague, contact Helena Hruzova, assistant professor of management, University of Economics, Prague (Vysoka skola ekonimicka v Praze) 420-2-24095388 or hruzova@vse.cz  

In Singapore, contact Adrian Wee, senior manager, office of corporate communications, Singapore Management University, 65-6822-0384 or adrianwee@smu.edu.sg