Published: Feb. 10, 2015
Center for the Education on Social Responsibility - Business Ethics

For the third straight year, the Center for Education on Social Responsibility (CESR) is preparing to host its Business Ethics Case Competition at the University of Colorado Boulder, where $10,000 will be awarded to the winners of the competition. The event, open to all Leeds School of Business students, provides an opportunity for students to practice dealing with real world challenges they will face in their professional careers. The preliminary round begins on February 20th, followed by the final competition on March 13th.

The ability to thrive in the face of ethical decisions is critical in today’s workplace. According to Owen Borum, CESR instructor and director of the competition, “Businesses today are acutely aware of the ethical aspects of their business and the social impacts that their activities can have. They want to do the right thing and they want employees who can recognize, understand, and deal with the implications of the business decisions they make.”

As the Competition has developed, it has grown in popularity amongst students over the past three years. The Business Ethics Case Competition is a spinoff from CESR’s annual Conscious Capitalism Conference, which has included a popular case competition component. A Leeds alumnus saw the value of the competition and provided funding for an independent case competition. This year’s event is expected to have the most participants ever along with the largest cash prize pool ever as a result of the donor’s generosity. For the winning teams, 1st place receives $5000, 2nd place receives $3000, and 3rd place receives $2000.

The Competition consists of teams made up of at least two upperclassmen and two underclassmen. For both rounds, teams are given an ethical dilemma and must prepare a presentation of their recommendations within a short period of time. Borum explains, “We find that it is helpful to give students a challenge with a broad range of directions that a company might go to resolving it, which allows students to bring their creativity and ideas to the table.”

Participants will be judged by a panel of professors and professionals based on the strength, creativity, and reasoning behind their decision. “We bring in outside judges who work for some of the very companies that hire our students. It is an opportunity for our students to meet these business leaders,” Borum explained. In conjunction with the awards ceremony, there will be a networking event for the students to meet judges and other attendees. This adds extra value to the competition by providing an easy way for students and professionals to connect.

Jamie Green, a returning participant in the Competition, explained, “The Business Ethics Case Competition helps business students like myself practice applicable business examples with an ethical framework in mind. Since participating in this competition, I have learned to tackle these problems and come up with more well-rounded solutions.”

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