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Stetson in top 5 at family enterprise contest

Family EnterpriseCompetitorsA team of family enterprise majors from Stetson University finished fifth out of 20 teams in the undergraduate competition of the Family Enterprise Case Competition (FECC) held in Burlington, Vt. Hosted by the University of Vermont’s School of Business Administration, the FECC is the premier competition in family business and features competitors from rigorous business schools around the globe, such as Canada and Sweden.

The event allows students to apply their knowledge from the classroom to complex family business problems. Each round – there are four — features a presentation of ideas and solutions to the tough problem by each team, which are then judged by a panel. Participation in this event demonstrates the Holistic Model framework that is the foundation of all Stetson family enterprise endeavors – a focus on the students with a synergistic approach to teaching research and outreach.

Frank Barbera, Ph.D., professor of family enterprise, prepared and trained the team (pictured above, l to r): Ben Lazarus, ‘14, Emma Campbell, ’15, Sara Poulx, ‘16, William Hollis, ‘14; Barbera is on the far right.  The competitors were selected from Barbera’s new experimental course, Case Studies in Family Business, which is on track to become a permanent elective option in the family enterprise curriculum.

“This course focuses on theoretical frameworks in family business,” said Barbera, “and how to use them while analyzing family business cases. In class the students presented their case analysis in front of a mock panel of judges. These judges were different every week and consisted of previous FECC competitors, various SOBA faculty members, and even Dean Schwarz.”

“The experience was unlike any other,” said Campbell. “The competition was professional yet welcoming—the other teams and coaches were interested in learning about other individuals as well as their roles in their respective teams, and visited each other’s presentations daily. The competition was fierce and the stress was high, but we are all human, whether you’re a judge, team leader, or coach. We all make mistakes, have weaknesses, and strive to use our strengths to reach our full potential.”

“We demonstrated our strengths with resolve,” explained Lazarus. “And when we made the finals, we knew we had come together as a team to share our moment in the sun. It was one of the toughest, most rewarding experiences of my life.”

“In addition to winning, a team should aim for many goals when participating in a competition like this, such as keeping true to form and maintaining a mental focus,” said Barbera. “We can now claim that we are among the top five schools in the world as far as family enterprise case analysis is concerned. This outcome clearly highlights to the world the quality of Stetson’s signature family enterprise program.”

By George Salis