A. Gary Anderson
Graduate School of Management

UCR Business Teams Earn Multiple Competitive Victories

At three competitions, graduate and undergraduate business students take home top awards
By Laurie McLaughlin |

UCR Business teams were victorious at the International Collegiate Business Strategy Competition (ICBSC) in April. The three-day contest included three UCR teams—the 15th year the university has competed—with multiple wins.

Four ICSBC 2024 awards and the UC Riverside banner
ICBSC 2024 trophies

“The ICBSC is a demanding competition and remains the best way to have a real-world business experience,” says MBA student Snigdha Ojha ’24, a two-time ICBSC participant. “Everything we study in class has immediate practical implications on the competition.

“I like to call the ICBSC a business lab creating endless opportunities for learning from mentors and peers as well as networking with other universities and executives.”

At the ICBSC, one of the UCR MBA teams won first place for best business documents and second place for overall performance; a second MBA team won best presentation to the board of directors. The undergraduate team placed third overall for performance.

Students are selected at the university level to participate in ICBSC and begin the four-month competition process on a particular business case study in January. “Teams compete on a virtual business strategy simulation platform making weekly decisions on all areas of business management, including building factories in both domestic and foreign markets, extending production lines, investing in product innovation, managing sales and marketing teams, and financing growth through debt and equity,” says Professor of Practice Sean Jasso, the team’s advisor.

“In addition to managing the growth of the company, teams create a comprehensive business plan complete with a full portfolio of financial statements.”

After three months of virtual competition, more than 30 university teams from the U.S. and abroad converge on Anaheim, California, for the in-person intensive phase. Students present their strategic plans judged by volunteer corporate executives, and prizes are presented at a formal awards luncheon.

UCR final pitch at UC Davis
UCR's final pitch at UC Davis Case Competition
Second Annual UCR Women in Business Case Competition

In February, 18 UCR graduate business students competed in the second annual UCR Business Case Competition, which is presented by the UCR Women In Business student organization. Teams of three graduate business students began the case study preparation workshop rogram in January led by Jasso and Erick Jensen, case expert, consultant, and adjunct professor at Alliant International University.

Students learned market sizing, market entry, and profitability within the larger framework of preparing case analyses for a client. Teams were provided an artificial intelligence-centric Harvard case study with less than 48 hours to prepare their final presentations to judges Jazmin Hernandez ’23 MBA, Jasso, and Jensen.

The first prize was awarded to MBA students Sriram Vempati ’25 and Rahul Muthavarapu ’25.

“The Women In Business Case Competition was a transformative part of my MBA experience,” says participant Sonal Agrawal ’24 MBA. “I enhanced my skills in strategic leadership and teamwork. It taught me the importance of integrating diverse approaches to develop innovative solutions.”

UCR wins second place at UC Davis
UCR team wins second place at UC Davis Case Competition
UCR Seizes Second Place at UC Davis Case Competition

Student participants in the Women in Business competition were among those eligible to apply to compete in the UC Davis Case Competition, and Agrawal was one of six MBA team members representing the A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management at the two-day UC Davis Graduate School of Management Case Competition in April.

The UCR team earned second place ahead of UC Berkeley. UCR team members also included Pious Khemka ’24 MSBA, and Aarev Rawalh ’24.

“The UC Davis Competition expanded my horizons as I learned to utilize analytical skills to develop branding, communication, and a risk-assessed business model effectively tackling industry trends and challenges,” says Agrawal. “It sharpened my ability to strategize and communicate a customer-centric, data-driven business strategy.”

On the first afternoon, teams received the case study and were briefed by the client, which, this year, was HM Claus, a global seed company. “The teams worked throughout the evening researching and preparing their industry analysis and strategic recommendations to the client executives serving as judges,” says Jasso, team mentor. The next morning, competitors pitched the judges and awards were presented at a luncheon.

Competitive Advantage in a Career

The School of Business and A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management provides extensive opportunities for students to polish their business skills at these important competitions.

“The ICBSC experience provided me with a deep understanding of how to manage a real-world company and effectively navigate business crises,” says Manideep Bommakanti ’25 MBA. “I’m immensely proud of our team’s success and the valuable insights we gained, which have prepared us exceptionally well for our future careers.

2024 women in business case competition
2024 women in business case competition with Sean Jasso