Monday, November 23, 2020

BYU club partners with Phoenix Suns and Ballard Center for case competition

The BYU Sports Business Club is partnering with the Phoenix Suns and the Ballard Center for Social Impact to host a case competition to develop a diversity and inclusion plan for the NBA organization.

Shaquin Albrow, Suns Director of Basketball Operations, and Joshua Clark, Suns Coordinator of Social Responsibility, will both be present on the BYU campus to participate as judges for the event.

What is a case competition?

A case competition is an event where an organization presents a real business problem for student teams to create solutions. This specific case prompt is focused on developing a comprehensive diversity and inclusion plan for the Phoenix Suns organization.

Student teams present their findings to a panel of judges, including Albrow, Clark, and a number of industry leaders. Albrow is looking forward to hearing the ideas generated at this event and equally interested to see how this will benefit the students involved.

“The thing that excites me the most about the upcoming case competition is the opportunity to hear unique and fresh ideas from a group of students that come from a number of different backgrounds,” Albrow said. “Not only does (the Phoenix Suns organization) benefit from hearing from these students, but we are able to provide students, who will be the next wave of industry leaders, with some real-life scenarios and experiences. That is something we love to be a part of.”

A panel of judges makes notes during a Chinese presentation at the Foreign Language Business Case Competition at BYU. Case competitions are helpful to business students because it gives them experience solving problems for real companies. (Erica Palmer)

When will the competition take place?

The case competition will take place in three different rounds: a case kickoff, a competitive preliminary round, and a final round.

The kickoff event will be held via Zoom on Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. MST. The kickoff will provide an in-depth overview of the case and will give students a chance to interact with Albrow and Clark before they begin working on their solutions. Teams will also be formed for those who do not have one.

All cases will then be presented over Zoom to a panel of judges on the evening of Oct. 15. Groups will present their plan for eight minutes, followed by a five-minute Q&A from the judges. The finalists will be chosen that evening to advance to the final round.

The top five teams from the preliminary round will advance to the finals on Oct. 20. Final groups will present to Suns’ executives, including Albrow and Clark. The top three teams will receive prizes from the Suns.

Who can compete?

All BYU students are welcome to participate, and each team will have at least one Sports Business Club member. Teams may have up to five students and all teams are final after the kickoff event on Oct. 8. If students do not have a team but are interested in competing they can register here and sign up as a “Free Agent,” and they will be placed on a team. Students may also form a team with other students at the case kickoff event.

How did the case competition come to be?

The Sports Business Club has a history of providing students with great case competitions.

“I participated in the first case the club ever had during my first BYU semester,” club co-president Carson Whitlock said. “Taking second place in that case helped me to eventually get a job with a local sports marketing firm. I didn’t have any other sports experience on my resume except the case, yet that was brought up in my interview. My bosses were impressed enough to give me the job because of that one experience I had.”

Whitlock and the rest of the club’s presidency hope that students recognize the opportunity to gain real experience and hopefully have an easier time getting into the industry.

This is the first Sports Business Club case where the club has partnered with another on-campus organization. The Ballard Center for Social Impact is a presenting partner for the case to promote diversity and inclusion across campus.

“Students should participate in this case study because it will bring students from different backgrounds together to solve real-world problems, which is an aim of the Ballard Center,” said Sophie Mortensen, the president of the BYU Ballard Center’s Social Impact Association. “This case is a direct application of human-centered design, where students can practice empathy and put it into action. We hope that those who participate will embrace diversity and make a greater effort to include others, not only on the BYU campus but in every aspect of their lives.”

The Sports Business Club typically works with professional sports teams for its case competitions each semester. Co-president of the club, Maxwell Clark, first reached out to Albrow in May to discuss the possibility of working with the Suns.

Clark and the Suns worked together to create a unique case competition for BYU students. After discussing many different ideas, they ultimately decided that it would be most beneficial for the students involved, as well as the Suns, to host a case on diversity and inclusion.

“In talking with Shaquin, we decided it would be interesting to see the perspectives of the students at BYU because the demographics of BYU are very similar to the demographics of Phoenix,” Clark said. “He thought there would be good overlap there.”

To learn more about the club, or sign up with a team, go to the club’s website to get involved: BYU Sports Business Club.

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