Case Competition - Undergraduate - 2nd Place - University of Colorado Denver - med

The undergraduate team from CU Denver Business School placed second in the 2019 Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative’s Consortium Case Competition.

The eighth annual Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative’s Consortium Case Competition took place April 11-12 in Denver. The Case Competition exposes college students to a thought-provoking business ethics case, similar to a situation that they might face in their professional careers. It is designed to challenge students’ ethical reasoning, give them tools for ethical decision making, and raise awareness of the importance of principle-based ethics. For the first time ever, the event included a separate competition track for graduate students in addition to the undergraduate student track.

Ten teams of undergraduate business students, and eleven teams of graduate students, converged in Denver to participate in this unique competition, designed exclusively for universities that are members of the Daniels Fund Ethics Consortium from Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

The CU Denver Business School undergraduate team was mentored by Ira Selkowitz, Senior Instructor and Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Director. Undergraduate team members are Hunter Akdis, Dylan Croom, Reid Jellison, Sophia Kenny, Nicolle Plasencia, and Leah Porter.

Case Competition - Undergraduate - 2nd Place - University of Colorado Denver - med
Business School Undergraduate team with head judge, Bill Crim, President & CEO of United Way of Salt Lake (far left), and Linda Childears, President & CEO of the Daniels Fund (far right).

In advance of the competition, teams were provided with a business ethics case involving a fictional gene editing company. Students take on the role of a management consulting firm hired by the board of directors to help deal with ethical issues and risks at the company. Each team conducted an analysis of the ethical issues involved, and presented their prepared recommendations to a panel of judges. After a question and answer session with the judges, the teams received a second part of the case — a crisis that provides new information and puts a twist on the case. They had just four hours to re-analyze their original recommendations, and make a second presentation to the judges.

The panels of judges for each track were comprised of business and community leaders, and evaluated presentations against established criteria, including the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Principles: integrity, trust, accountability, transparency, fairness, respect, rule of law, and viability. The winning teams correctly identified many of the ethical issues present in the case and made important suggestions including developing a code of ethics, hiring a chief ethics officer and legal staff with expertise in the various internal markets in which the firm operates, reducing the CEO’s voting power on the board of directors, and changing the composition of the board to include more industry expertise and reduce conflicts of interest.

Reflecting Bill Daniels’ personal commitment to ethics and integrity, the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Collegiate Program was established in 2010 to foster a high standard of ethics in students and to strengthen the teaching of principle-based ethics in young people. The five-year pilot was launched in 2010 with eight business schools at universities in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. Due to its success, the initiative was renewed for another five years (2015-2019), and expanded to include two more business schools and one law school. To date, more than 400,000 students, faculty, and business people have been impacted by the Collegiate Program.

The Daniels Fund, established by cable television pioneer Bill Daniels, is a private charitable foundation dedicated to making life better for the people of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming through its grants program, scholarship program, and ethics initiative.

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