College of Business: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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James Scholar Case Competition Builds Trust


“Building trust, every day.”

Rockwell Collins’ tagline provides a glimpse of their corporate culture, of what its employees value and what keeps the 75 year old electronic solutions company thriving in a competitive market.

As a new generation of employees joins Rockwell Collins, the challenge of building trust between their four generations of employees is growing in importance. These generational differences not only bring a new level of complexity to the work environment but also cause friction, subtle mistrust, and communication breakdowns that prevent effective teamwork and collaboration.

Working with the College of Business at ILLINOIS, Rockwell Collins leadership came up with a way to engage business students in helping to meet this challenge.

Last February Rockwell Collins sponsored the James Scholar Case Competition and presented the issue to 15 teams of freshmen and sophomore honors students. Students were asked to produce professional results incorporating and demonstrating Rockwell Collins’ values of teamwork, integrity, innovation, customer focus and leadership.

What resulted profoundly impressed Rockwell Collins representatives, prompting them to invite the top two teams to visit them in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and present findings to the Senior Leadership Committee.

On June 17, Alex Hepp, Connor Matthews, Matt Narasimhan, and Scott Nieman of the 1st place team and Michelle Fasano, Chris Liquin, Roxanne Miller, and Casey Ryan of the 2nd place team presented to the CEO of Rockwell Collins, Clay Jones, and his senior team. With all the Illini spirit they could muster, these excellent students represented themselves and the College of Business with passion, wisdom and heart.

College of Business honors students have once again performed admirably for a client, the College, and most importantly, for themselves. Their tireless enthusiasm and can-do attitude sets them apart and above what others achieve, bringing honor and recognition to everyone who has contributed to their success. Every donor, alumnus, faculty member, and staff who works to ensure that our students get all the benefits they deserve shares in the achievement.

Honors Dean John Hedeman proudly reports that Rockwell Collins will continue their funding of the competition in 2011.

UIUC College of Business