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NMSU business students compete in Daniels Fund Ethics case competition


Five people in front of Daniels Foundation backdrop
Members of New Mexico State University’s Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative team are, from left, Adam Tirado, Renee Baca, Esme Brown, Salvador Flores and Deyanira Flores. The team was among 10 teams from universities in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming to compete in the sixth annual Consortium Case Competition in Denver April 27-28. Following their impressive presentation, a couple of the students have expressed their desire to go back and compete again next year. (Courtesy photo from Daniels Fund)


Undergraduate business students from New Mexico State University’s College of Business delivered impressive presentations during the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative’s sixth annual Case Competition in Denver April 27-28.

“The team and I were very proud of our team’s exceptional performance,” said Bruce Huhmann, NMSU professor of marketing and director of NMSU’s Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative. “Their presentation was professional, polished and showed a clear understanding of principle-based ethics.”

NMSU was among 10 teams of four-to-six students that participated in the unique competition, designed exclusively for universities that are members of the Daniels Fund Ethnics Consortium from Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

Team members were Adam Tirado, Renee Baca, Esme Brown, Salvador Flores and Deyanira Flores.

“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,” Huhmann said. “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.”

In advance of the competition, teams were provided with a business ethics case involving a fictional company that has introduced an implantable smart phone-like device. The students took the role of a hired consultant to the fictional company in the case, conducted an analysis of the ethical issues involved and prepared recommendations.

At the competition, each team presented their recommendation to a panel of judges. After a questions 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 recommendation and make a second presentation to the judges.

The panel of judges was comprised of eight business and community leaders. They evaluated the presentations against established criteria, including the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Principles of integrity, trust, accountability, transparency, fairness, respect, rule of law and viability.

“Our final score of 73.2 was close behind the winning score of the University of Northern Colorado,” Huhmann said. “Our team delivered an impressive presentation on the root ethical problems that were keeping the joint venture from achieving business success.”

Placing second behind the University of Northern Colorado was the University of Utah in second and University of Denver in third.

In addition, the competing teams represented Colorado Mesa University, Colorado State University, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, University of Colorado at Denver, University of New Mexico and University of Wyoming.

Reflecting Daniels Fund founder 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.

NMSU was among the initial eight business schools when the program’s five-year pilot was launched in 2010. Due to its success, the initiative was renewed for another five years, and expanded to include two more business schools and one law school.

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