Winners of ILA’s International Student Case Competition: Network, Learn, and Grow
Amanda Allen is a broadcast journalism major in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. She is an intern for the International Leadership Association and has an interest in marketing, broadcast, and multi-platform journalism. She is also the president of the Women’s Club Basketball team at the University of Maryland.
Each year at ILA’s annual global conference, teams of students compete to see who will win the ILA International Student Case Competition. The prize? $1,000 cash to each winning team and free ILA membership.
Competition is tough. In 2019, 15 teams competed in the undergraduate division and 5 teams competed in the graduate division. Each team chose a socio-political-economic problem and analyzed, through a leadership lens, that problem at a global or national level. All teams presented a poster on their case during the first day of the conference and three finalists in each division were invited to give a final presentation two days later. In the interim, finalists were expected to enhance their final presentations by responding to comments received during their poster presentation and by incorporating what they were learning at the conference.
Teams from Christopher Newport University, St. Thomas University, and Washburn University made it to the 2019 undergraduate division finals while teams from Robert Morris University, University of Maryland, and Western University advanced to the 2019 graduate division finals.
At the closing plenary of the conference, finalists waited in the audience to hear the announcement of whether or not they would be called to the stage to accept the award. It felt like the Academy Awards of the ILA when the names were announced and the top names in the field applauded this next generation of leadership professionals.
Sound intriguing? Keep reading to find out who won, what they learned in Ottawa, and their advice for teams this year. Then start gathering your own team together so you’re ready when team registration for the 2020 competition opens in a few months.
Thank you to all of the teams that participated, the volunteer judges, and the Leadership Education member community for organizing ILA’s International Student Case Competition. And, thank you to all of the ILA members who donated to help fund the award. We couldn’t do this without you.
Congratulations to Washburn University (WU), winner of the undergraduate division for their case: A Mountain of Misfortune: Understanding Irresponsible Consumption and Disposal of Waste in India through the Lens of Leadership Theory.
The undergraduate team from WU, Hannah Arneson, Kendall Beemer, Cecelia Caraccilo, and Claire Leffingwell, chose to study the Ghazipur Landfill in Delhi, India to highlight the global issue of waste management. When asked why they chose this topic, Marie Caraccilo shared, “Washburn University's own Topeka community is dealing with its own trash mountain and is currently figuring out how to manage waste more efficiently. We thought it would be cool to apply what we learned not only to other countries globally, but also to our own community.”
New Bonds Formed for the Competition
Before participating in the competition, the WU team did not know each other very well. The competition and the conference brought them together as teammates and friends. The team members contributed their own unique strengths and perspectives to the case study. “We all come from very different majors — legal studies, psychology, accounting, and business marketing and finance. This meant that we all took different approaches to thinking about the case study, which helped us avoid settling for an easy option — we pushed each other to produce our best work. We also encouraged each other, especially when tensions or nerves were high. It was an amazing experience to become so close to my three fellow teammates while learning and growing at the same time,” said Claire Leffingwell.
Advice for Future Participants at ILA’s 22nd Annual Global Conference in San Francisco, California
“I think the biggest piece of advice I have for future participants of the International Student Case Study competition is to not settle for the easy options. It's easy, and maybe appealing, to choose a topic and solutions that have easy recommendations — a ‘band-aid’ approach. But that's not what leadership is — leadership is choosing highly complex issues and making progress towards solving those adaptive challenges. I truly believe that I gained and learned more from choosing a complex issue, even if it required more work on the front end,” revealed Leffingwell. Furthermore, she added, “Have fun! It's nice to win, but it's about the experience as well. Network, learn, and grow.”
Congratulations to the University of Maryland (UMD) team, winners of the graduate division for: Decolonizing Education.
The victorious UMD graduate team of Shakia Asamoah, Genevieve Hiltebrand, and Noel Kuriakos met with me on campus to discuss their case and conference experience. Check out this short video of our conversation!