Baker College of Flint Business Students Garner Awards At Students In Free Enterprise Competition

May 15, 2012

Business Students Win Free Enterprise Competition
Baker College of Flint Business Students.
Back row, left to right: Kevin Leffler (Goodrich), Baker College of Flint business administration professor; David Labo (Flint); Mark Mills (Imlay City); Alex Welch (Grand Blanc); DaRon Hairston (Grand Blanc); Jamie Giampa (Flint); Ardelia Bailey (Flint); Cynthia Delbridge (Grand Blanc), Baker College of Flint instructor; Valbon Dedivanaj (Linden).
Front row, left to right: Stephanie Davidson (Burton); Kathryn Alvarado (Linden); Joe Bauer (Burton); Shandra Luchenbill (Flushing); Kristy Blevins (Flint); Amy Crawford (Burton); Joe Basore (Grand Blanc).

Baker College of Flint business students won the Rookie of the Year and First Runner-up awards at the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) regional competition in Chicago. SIFE is an international nonprofit organization that works with leaders in business and higher education to mobilize university students to make a difference in their communities while developing the skills to become socially responsible business leaders. The Baker College of Flint SIFE team won for developing a new website, a brochure, and marketing and production plans for the St. Luke’s New Life Center in Flint.

“This is the first time that our students participated in the competition and we couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome,” said Dr. John Cote, Baker College of Flint Dean of Business Administration. “They competed against world-class universities that boast a population of up to 20,000 students. This achievement is both very humbling and rewarding. We believe we are providing a competitive real-world business education for our students and these types of awards is a validation of our efforts.”

The St. Luke’s project began more than a year ago, when the small business program students at Baker College of Flint helped the organization develop a business plan for its initiative to train unemployed women in Flint’s inner city to produce hospital gowns to sell to area hospitals. The Baker students, in addition to the business plan, liaised with St. Luke’s in the implementation of marketing, sales and production plans. At the SIFE competition, the 14-member Baker College of Flint team gave a 24-minute presentation about its St. Luke’s project to a group of judges representing the business world and before a 100-person audience.

“The presentation had to demonstrate how the project helped to improve society and how business principles were used effectively to accomplish this societal improvement,” said Kevin Leffler, Baker College of Flint Business Administration professor. “According to SIFE officials, the Chicago competition was not only the last of the regionals, it was by far the toughest. And, according to another official, our Baker students competed against other universities that had previously participated several times in the competition and had been named regional champs. We were certainly up against some very tough odds.”

SIFE has set up 11 regional competitions and approximately 60 colleges and universities participated in the Chicago regionals this year. The Chicago competition was broken up into 10 “leagues” that consisted of six teams per league. Baker’s team competed in a league that included the University of Missouri, the University of Nebraska and the University of Wisconsin. Out of all of this year’s participants in Chicago, only Baker College of Flint and one other university garnered two awards.

“I am very proud of our students and their achievement,” said Cote. “I am also appreciative of team faculty advisors Kevin Leffler and Cynthia Delbridge. They were available every step of the way and they continue to act as counselors for the not-yet-completed St. Luke’s New Life Center project. Sincere congratulations to all for a job well done.”

To celebrate and share this accomplishment, the SIFE team will present their project on the Baker College of Flint campus in the near future. Details to come.

SIFE works with approximately 1,500 universities in 39 countries and more than 48,000 students are involved with the organization worldwide. Originated by Walmart’s Sam Walton, SIFE is strongly supported by many Fortune 500 companies.

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