Diversity Diplomats turn in their best performance at National Diversity Case Competition

Diversity Diplomats

From left to right: Erynn Christopherson, Advisor Angela R Guidry,
Bianca Soto, Valerie Maynez-Sanchez and Victoria Silvani

January 30, 2020

BLOOMINGTON, IN - The E. J. Ourso College of Business Diversity Diplomats placed second at the 2020 National Diversity Case Competition (NDCC) at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. The E. J. Ourso College of Business has competed in the National Diversity Case Competition annually since 2016, and placed third overall in 2016 and 2017, runner-up in preliminary round in 2019 and second overall in 2020. The ninth annual National Diversity Case Competition was held over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. This premier event brings together top-level and diverse talent in undergraduate education from across the nation, where nearly 170 business students from 42 teams competed.

This year’s team included Erynn Christopherson, Bianca Soto, Victoria Silvani and Valerie Maynez-Sanchez. Christopherson, who served as team captain, is a junior from Brittany, LA majoring in Information Systems and Decision Sciences. Soto is a senior marketing major from San Fernando, CA. Silvani is a junior marketing major from Houston, Texas. Maynez is a junior marketing major from Las Vegas, NV. 

“The opportunity to represent the E. J. Ourso College of Business at the National Diversity Case Competition was an experience I will never forget,” Christopherson said. “Working with my talented, hardworking team was a joy, and attending the impactful NDCC workshops and networking events was invaluable. The thorough coaching and immense support from the faculty and staff provided our team with all the necessary tools to succeed at such a highly competitive event.”

Each four-student team included two members from an underrepresented population. Among the 168 students participating, 31 percent were African-American, 27 percent were Hispanic, 17 percent were Asian, and 17 percent were multiracial. Women accounted for 61 percent of the competitors. Judges were looking for creative solutions that leveraged the students’ diverse backgrounds.

Students were challenged with solving diversity-related business issues and shared ideas while benefiting from workshops and networking with companies that value inclusion. This year, the competition focused on a case provided by 3M that examined strategies for a community or neighborhood in the U.S. to engage more underrepresented and under-resourced students in STEM programs.

For finishing second, the Diversity Diplomats took home $5,000 from the $20,000 prize pool. The University of Richmond took home first prize, with Syracuse University, the University of Texas at Austin, Rutgers University-Newark, Minnesota State-Mankato and the University of Michigan rounding out the group.

“As the advisor, my goal is always to make sure our students are prepared to compete at a very high level,” said Angela Guidry, the team coach and Diversity and Inclusion director in the Office of Business Student Success. “However, you need students willing to accept the challenge and responsibility to compete at that level. This year’s team did just that!  I’m so proud of Erynn, Bianca, Victoria and Valerie. This was their first time competing in a national case competition. They all had the right mindset and were more than willing to learn, accept constructive feedback and make the necessary changes.”

About the Office of Business Student Success

The Office of Business Student Success (OBSS) offers a comprehensive collection of services to enhance the academic and professional development. The goal is to provide the tools needed to succeed academically and professionally to prepare students to enter the workforce in careers that are well-matched to their talents, interests and values. Established in August 2010, Diversity and Inclusion helps ensure that the E. J. Ourso College reflects the diversity of its many students and that all individuals feel welcome, equal and equitable.

About the E. J. Ourso College of Business 

Since its establishment in 1928, the E. J. Ourso College of Business has continuously improved and expanded its offerings for students and alumni. Additionally, the college has made it a priority to provide its faculty with the resources it needs to further research in every aspect of the business world and to produce industry leaders for a global work environment. For more news and information about the E. J. Ourso College, visit lsu.edu/business.

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Elizabeth Eaton
E. J. Ourso College of Business