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By Trevor Diddell
BSBA Marketing ’10

Pam Perry, Wells Fargo, and Stephen Gilliland

Undergraduate programs director and associate
dean Pam Perry, Wells Fargo executive vice
president of corporate communications Larry Haeg,
and management and organizations department
head Stephen Gilliland.

In November, Eller undergraduates participating in the Business Communication case competition presented solutions to a challenge put forth by Wells Fargo executive vice president of corporate communications Larry Haeg.

The course, BNAD 314 Business Communication, is required for Eller students of all majors, and challenges them to develop critical skills for communicating in today’s dynamic work environment. Business communication lecturer Jim McLean coordinates the event. “What’s nice about this case competition is that it allows students to assemble all the business communication techniques they’ve learned in the semester, apply them to a real-world situation, and then present to judges who are in the business community,” he says.

Students cited the opportunity to present to industry professionals as the highlight of the event, which also offered the judges a chance to meet the high-caliber students that comprise the Eller College’s undergraduate community. Each of the student teams was assigned to a room with a panel of volunteer judges. Students presented their solutions to the judges, who then ranked the groups based on creativity, quality of responses, and overall presentation skills. From each room, judges awarded first and second place honors to teams.

“I was very impressed with the competition,” says Haeg. “And I was especially impressed with the enthusiasm of the students.” Haeg sat on the judging panel for a few lucky teams and addressed the students briefly at the awards ceremony.

Student participants

Participating undergraduate students gather to find
out which teams won the Business Communication
case competition.

“Before presenting, I was pretty nervous because I wanted to do well,” says business management junior Michael Abramowicz. “Once we got to our room, the judges made me feel less nervous; they told us just to have fun and relax.”

The half-day event concluded with an awards ceremony. “Mr. Haeg seemed really excited to be at Eller and to exchange words with students and faculty,” says Abramowicz. Before the winning teams were announced, students and judges networked in the Estes Atrium.

Each member of first-place teams took home a small cash prize. “The case competition really pulls it all together — from understanding audiences, developing objectives and strategies, to thinking on your feet,” McLean explains.

The students not only took away valuable communication skills, they also had a unique opportunity to visit with and listen to an executive of a Fortune 50 company. “It was an honor to take part as an observer; I came away with great respect for the students and faculty. Eller really is a great business college,” Haeg says.