GVSU becomes first U.S. team to win international business competition

GVSU students and their student advisor pose for a photo at international competition
From left, Teddy Rounds, Abby Hoffman, team advisor Ana Gonzalez, Alina Ladewig and Justin Quinn pose for a photo at the Schlesinger Global Family Enterprise Case Competition at the University of Vermont.

A team of Grand Valley students recently won the Schlesinger Global Family Enterprise Case Competition hosted by the University of Vermont , becoming the first group from the United States to win the event in its 11-year history.

The four-day international competition is open to teams of undergraduate and graduate students and requires participants to act as consultants and analyze family-owned businesses across a spectrum of backgrounds and history. Students submit their findings and recommendations in a 20-minute presentation to judges who grade their decision-making and strategic process. 

In the final round, the Grand Valley team of Abby Hoffman, Alina Ladewig, Teddy Rounds and Justin Quinn faced teams from the University of California, Berkeley; Bishop’s University (Sherbrooke, Quebec); Toronto Metropolitan University, Rotterdam University and Universidad Panamericana, Guadalajara.

“Congratulations to Abby, Alina, Teddy and Justin for representing the Seidman College of Business and GVSU,” said Diana Lawson, dean of the Seidman College of Business. “We are so proud of them and their significant accomplishment.” 

Under the guidance of Ana Gonzalez, the team’s advisor and director of the Family Owned Business Institute in the Seidman College of Business, and Chandresh Baid, assistant professor of management, the Grand Valley team had eight months to review the competition’s opening case. 

“The businesses the students review in the competition could be anything from small, medium or very large,” Gonzalez said. “Companies that are 35 years old or 120 years old, or a four-generation family business that is diversified with very large holdings.

“That’s what’s interesting about family businesses is that they come in all shapes and sizes, from a mom-and-pop shop to Amway.”

Once the students advanced past the opening round, they faced two more preliminary rounds, getting four hours to review and strategize each case before building their presentation for the panel of scholars and consultants as well as executives and employees of family businesses.

“I grew up in a family business, so this gave me a greater understanding of businesses in general,” Hoffman said. “Being able to look more holistically at each case helped me realize all of the dimensions involved with a family business.” 

Since its inaugural event in 2013, the Schlesinger Global Family Enterprise Case Competition has welcomed more than 800 competitors from 66 universities and 37 countries.

This year marked Grand Valley’s 10th year of participating in the event. 

“Abby, Alina, Justin and Teddy did so well in every single round,” Gonzalez said. “They grew so much. I'm so proud of them.”


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