by Sarah Small
While his friends enjoyed their vacations from homework and classes during spring break, Brent Kerby ’11 (2nd from left in photo), junior in accountancy, participated in a case competition with a team of other students from around the world. The team competed to learn and to gain approval from their sponsors. Ultimately they took first place in the competition.
Kerby traveled to Greece to participate in the International Student Business Forum, which is sponsored by Deloitte and the International Institute for Management Development, a prestigious business school in Switzerland. At the forum, he represented the University, the United States and Deloitte.
He was one of three Americans to attend the forum and was the first ILLINOIS student Deloitte has ever invited to participate. The other American students were from the University of Southern California and the University of Texas Austin.
“I got to meet all of these people from everywhere,” Kerby said. “A lot of people knew what the University of Illinois was. They recognized the name and knew what a good school it was. This made me feel good.”
The forum had 40 student participants who represented six continents; there were also about 20 Deloitte professionals from offices around the world.
“I actually got to meet everyone,” Kerby said. “I built really great relationships with a lot of people. To make professional relations like that is really important.”
During the first days of the forum the students participated in networking activities, visited historic sites in Athens and attended a lecture on case competition strategies. Finally each team received the case and were given only 12 hours to prepare solutions before presenting to a panel of judges, all Deloitte professionals.
Thanks to an education from ILLINOIS, Kerby had the most experience working with case competitions and took a leadership role on his team. Diversity reached a whole new level in this competition, because all of Kerby’s teammates were from different countries. He said it required him to adapt quickly.
“The cultural difference was really interesting, very cool to learn,” Kerby said. “I got to see what different cultures really value and what they bring to the team. We all have our different strong points.”
He said the case was long and challenging, but his training from ILLINOIS helped make it more manageable, as did the help from a Deloitte professional assisting the team. Thanks to strong teamwork, his team earned the top prize and contributed further to ILLINOIS’ reputation for excellence.
“Hopefully it opened the door for University of Illinois students to do it again,” Kerby said. “I hope I represented the College well enough to make (Deloitte) want more University of Illinois students.”