Thunderbird students participate in international competition; faculty team honored with “Best Coaches” award
As part of the Transatlantic Higher Education Partnership between Arizona State University (ASU) and Dublin City University (DCU), undergraduate students from Thunderbird School of Global Management (Thunderbird) and DCU participated in the 10th Edition of the Schlesinger Global Family Enterprise Case Competition (SG-FECC) this past January at the University of Vermont's Grossman School of Business.
This competition represents one of the academic initiatives that the faculty of Thunderbird’s A. Masrin Center for Global Entrepreneurship and Family Business and the DCU National Centre for Family Business have collaborated on since 2021. The collaboration provides students with innovative learning opportunities in the field of family business, and this globally-recognized competition served as an ideal platform for achieving this goal.
The SG-FECC prepared participants to understand the critical issues that are unique to family enterprise by applying the knowledge and expertise they have developed in the classroom towards solving complex family business cases. This was also the first time in the competition's 10-year history that two universities competed as a team. Thunderbird's team was led by the Director of the A. Masrin Center Eva Vázquez Ortiz, as she collaborated with the coaches from DCU National Center for Family Business, Eric Clinton and Catherine Faherty.
Alex, a third-year student in Thunderbird's Bachelor of Science in International Trade (BSIT) program, joined forces with Grace Mollaghan and Thomas Lynch, business studies students from DCU, to represent the joint Thunderbird-DCU undergraduate team at the SG-FECC. The competition involved 200 students from 12 countries across four continents and challenged students to analyze and present solutions to complex family enterprise issues.
“As a highly respected international competition, the SG-FECC provided an invaluable opportunity for the Thunderbird-DCU team to apply their knowledge and critical thinking skills to real-world business challenges,” said Vázquez Ortiz.
Participants were given four days to work on the case, after which they presented their solutions to a panel of judges. This year's judges included prominent business leaders and family business experts, such as Enerino Caruccio, vice president of insights planning and technology for Amazon Devices & Services, and Mark Green, co-founder of the Pacific Family Business Institute.
The competition also provided real-world training for students as they build the necessary skills to become successful entrepreneurs.
"The competition's impact on my future will be everlasting,” said Alex. “It helped pivot me into the area of business I was looking for and build the confidence I needed to pursue it."
Vázquez Ortiz teamed up with DCU faculty member Catherine Faherty to coach and train the participating students for the SG-FECC competition.
Their partnership was recognized at the SG-FECC Awards Ceremony, where they received the prestigious 2023 SG-FECC Undergraduate Team Coach Award.
“This award is a testament to their outstanding commitment to providing constructive, helpful, and insightful feedback to our students,” said Sanjeev Khagram, director general and dean of Thunderbird. “Being honored with the Undergraduate Team Coach Award is a remarkable achievement, highlighting the immense value of their guidance and dedication to the field of family businesses.”
Their mentorship and expertise are a key component to the team distinguishing themselves among their peers from around the world.
"I am grateful for the experience as I gained additional knowledge in effective strategy, teamwork, networking, and working under pressure,” said Alex. “I look forward to continuing to help small businesses and apply the important techniques I learned through this opportunity in my professional life.”