July 1, 2014

Case competition draws U.S. high school students to Fisher

For the first time since 2008, Fisher College of Business hosted the National Black MBA Association’s® (NBMBAA) Leaders of Tomorrow® Case Competition. The 13th annual event brought 130 minority high school students from across the country to campus. During the course of two days, teams of students worked with professional mentors to analyze and prepare an MBA-level business case before presenting their findings to a panel of senior corporate executives, college and university faculty and Fisher alumni.

Jesse Tyson, president and CEO of the NBMBAA®, Fisher alumnus

First-place finishers from St. Louis, one of 26 teams that competed in the Leaders of Tomorrow® Case Competition

Representatives from St. Louis took first place in the competition, which challenged students to explore how Harley-Davidson could attract a new generation of customers. Teams from New Jersey and Greater Harrisburg finished second and third, respectively. The competition was presented in conjunction with Fisher’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion Student Services (ODISS).

“If I compare what I saw in those Leaders of Tomorrow® with what I see on the 6 o’clock news and read about in the newspapers, it’s almost like it’s a different world,” said Jesse Tyson, president and CEO of the NBMBAA® and a Fisher alumnus. “Those students made it clear to me that our future is much brighter than we would otherwise think – based on the quality of the presentations, how they carried themselves the entire weekend, and their ability to dissect complex data and draw meaningful conclusions.”

The Leaders of Tomorrow® Case Competition brought a record 26 teams to Fisher, where the final three teams presented to an audience of 350 corporate executives, MBA mentors, university faculty and administrators, high school students and a panel of judges consisting of two senior corporate executives and a professor emeritus.

“It was an honor and a privilege for Fisher College of Business to once again host the Leaders of Tomorrow® Case Competition,” said David Harrison, director of ODISS. “It was inspiring to see the best and brightest young minds from across the country gathered here at Fisher, working together to gain a hands-on understanding of business in a collaborative and competitive setting.

“More than 30 university officials supported the event and were extremely impressed with the outstanding students who were well-prepared to compete at the national level. These kinds of initiatives provide great opportunities for us to recruit the most academically talented students from around the country. As participants pursue opportunities at colleges and universities, we encourage them to stay in touch with the many university contacts they met, including Khadijah Jones, assistant director of access and diversity initiatives at Ohio State, Trish Jefferson, associate director for recruitment, diversity and enrollment at Fisher, or myself for admissions and merit-based scholarship opportunities at Ohio State.”

In addition to the competition, the weekend event also stressed academic excellence, professional etiquette and effective leadership.

“We told the participants that anybody can do enough to be good,” Tyson said. “But true leaders take the extra step to go beyond and pursue greatness. That’s what developing leadership skills is all about.”

Since its inception in 2002, nearly 900 students have participated in the Leaders of Tomorrow® Case Competition, and more than $400,000 in scholarships and programming support has been awarded. The NBMBAA’s Leaders of Tomorrow™ program operates 30 chapters in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom, including a chapter in Columbus.