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And the winner is … us

MSU Denver student teams make their school proud by winning and placing at national competitions, showing that they’re a force to be reckoned with.

MSU Denver and CU teams gather for a picture with the Arrow judges after each receiving a $2,500 scholarship.
MSU Denver and CU teams gather for a picture with the Arrow judges after each receiving a $2,500 scholarship.

Picture this: you, a student looking to gain hands-on experience in a real-world work environment, are offered the opportunity to advise top executives on their business campaigns. And not only that – you have the chance to snag $12,500 in scholarship money to boot! Sounds too good to be true, right?

Well, that was the exact situation a team of four MSU Denver students found themselves in at the inaugural “Diversity Meets Innovation Case Competition,” sponsored by Arrow Electronics and Indiegogo. Students Antonio Adams (organizational communications), Jessica Ward (management), Justin Dougherty (marketing) and Rubi Solis (electrical engineering technology) tied for first place, competing against teams from the University of Denver, University of Colorado Boulder and Colorado State University.

The students were assigned 10 Indiegogo campaigns and were tasked with assessing the technical and business merits of each. After a period of collaborating and coaching, the students presented their recommendations to Arrow executives, who vetted their concepts for potential commercial development. MSU Denver emerged victorious, tying for first place by just a fraction of a point with CU Boulder. For their winning efforts, each student on both triumphant teams received $2,500 in scholarship money, with a $22,500 total contribution from Arrow Electronics.

Instructor and faculty coach, David Bechtold said of the experience: “I hope this is a start of many opportunities for MSU Denver students to go head-to-head with our academic neighbors, not just locally but also nationally and internationally. We want to send a message that if MSU Denver is in the competition you better bring your A-game because we are consistently good.”

Consistently good indeed! While the case competition win is impressive, there are other MSU Denver teams making waves at a variety of national and statewide competitions.

Take, for example, student team Ryan Jones, Leo Barth, Ryan Gordanier and Cameron Loveless, all finance majors, who took second place at the CFA Institute Research Challenge. The challenge tests university students on equity research and valuation, investment report writing, and presentation skills. Participating teams submitted detailed valuation reports and presented relevant information to a host company in February.

Also collecting accolades are a team of four sales students: Alyse Coleman, Jarell Brooks, Christina Petersen and Chris Burns. These students participated in Sales Idol, a sales competition hosted by Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah. While all of these types of competitions vary slightly, the basic premise is the same: MSU Denver students compete with sales students from across the nation, role playing scenarios in which they attempt to sell a product or service to business professionals. In the most recent spring competition, the aforementioned team contended with more than 70 other students, with MSU Denver’s own Alyse Coleman snagging third place!

And there were other notable students putting the MSU Denver name on the map, too. Chanda Lowrance’s poster presentation earned her second place at the Western Regional Honors Conference. Students Briana Simmons, Brittney Finley, Sean Nogrady and Michael Brown won second place for their presentation at the Rocky Mountain Honors Conference.

These successful students are proving that MSU Denver is a competitive force. With such an impressive list of accomplishments, and many more to come, it’s clear that our students can tackle any challenge thrown their way. Kudos to all our fierce competitors!