Graduate and undergraduate students from the UTSA College of Business placed first in their respective categories in the annual Free Trade Alliance International Business Plan competition.
The UTSA students competed against 140 students from 23 countries and 30 universities. Students worked on cross cultural teams with an executive mentor to write a 10-12 page business plan. Participants then presented their plan to a panel of judges who selected the winners.
The event was created to help students develop their international business skills and compete and collaborate globally. Winners received their share of over $20,000 in prize money.
At the undergraduate level UTSA team members were Linda Campos, a senior majoring in international business; and Monica Fiol, a senior accounting student. They were joined by Yishu Zhuo, a UTSA exchange student from Hong Kong and two students from St. Mary’s University. Working with their mentors at Rackspace, the team developed a business strategy for expanding Rackspace’s cloud computing products into Brazil.
“Rackspace was great,” said Campos. “They met with us every Monday for a month and gave us a crash course in cloud computing.”
At the graduate level the UTSA team was comprised of international MBA students Lucia Gonzalez, Vanessa Rogers and Robin Rosales and MIT student Aleem Ahmed. The students developed a plan to export and package Ethiopian millet in the United States. They were mentored by H-E-B executive Armando Flores.
“Our mentor met with us and helped us flesh out details on our project such as packaging, financials and tariffs,” said Rosales. “It was a big confidence boost for us. We know we can be competitive in the marketplace.”
“This program is a perfect example of bringing education and business together to develop future global leaders and prepare students for a multicultural workforce,” said Peter Albarian, director of the Free Trade Alliance Education Foundation. “These students are learning well beyond the book and have gained tremendous practical experience in solving real business issues and communicating across cultures.”
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