With a February win in a prestigious case competition and a 100th anniversary celebration scheduled for May 1-3, it's shaping up to be an excellent year for business student club UO Alpha Kappa Psi (AKPsi).
Case competition team members Skye Gallagher ’15, Collin Samples ’15, Samantha Twardoch ’15, and Kiran Bernard ’17 were among the 20 UO AKPsi members who flew to Reno, Nevada, to attend this year’s Principled Business Leadership Institute—one of six such events held at different cities around the United States.
While their fellow students attended seminars and networked with members of the region’s other AKPsi chapters, the four teammates—known collectively as Big Picture Consulting—focused on their core goal, presenting a case they first began working on in October 2014.
The case in question revolved around a real-life challenge: the changing fortunes of a bubble tea café in South Carolina owned by two AKPsi alumni. The UO team offered a proposal for refocusing the café’s product offerings and also created a rebranding initiative that included a new logo and redesigned website.
For Twardoch, UO AKPsi's current president and a student in the college's Business Honors program, one of the competition's biggest surprises was the unexpected nervousness she felt during the competition.
“I pride myself on public speaking. I run the AKPsi meetings every week with 85 students, but it was really hard to exude confidence while presenting in front of the judges,” she said.
Though Twardoch may have felt jittery on the inside, it was the poise and polish of the team’s performance that apparently helped convince the judges to advance the team from second to first place during the competition's final round.
“We looked at the judges’ written feedback and a lot of our positive scores came from the team’s confidence and our ability to answer tough questions,” Twardoch recalled.
This victory is the chapter’s second win in recent years. A previous UO team took the top spot in the Reno competition in 2012. Plans are already in place to keep the chapter on its winning streak. According to Twardoch, UO AKPsi plans to institute a case competition workshop and hopes to field two teams in next year’s competition. To aid future competitors, this year’s winning team has handed off its finished presentation and papers to the chapter.