Though the pressures of competition are very real, failure to win a national case competition does not include a threat of unemployment or demotion. Case competitions are usually “academic exercises,” one step beyond a classroom assignment and one step away from real business.
The University of Illinois team of 8 sophomore women in the College of Business recently learned how Ernst & Young, a leading global accountancy services firm, draws the gap a little tighter with their national Your World, Your Vision competition. The competition challenges student teams to propose and deliver an initiative that has a significant impact on a local community.
Business students Sarah Ashida ’13, Erin Duber ’13, Kate Hansell ’13, Alana Moore ’13, Kim Nelson ’13, Jeanette Panfil ’13, Shannon Woods ’13, and Nisha Saboo ’13 teamed up to win at the local University of Illinois Your World Your Vision competition and then subsequently competed against 40 other teams from around the country to win the $10,000 national prize to implement their project proposal.
Their winning entry teaches elementary school children near the University of Illinois about cooking, environmental sustainability, healthy eating, and project planning through the creation of a cookbook and entrepreneurship through the sale of that cookbook.
“Our preliminary research revealed that poverty and poor nutrition is a national and local problem,” said Woods. “We wanted to do something to help, and to impact Champaign-Urbana.”
The team interviewed local teachers who are enthusiastic about the idea and who plan to support its implementation.
Ernst & Young presented the winning team with $10,000 to help start the effort.
“It’s like a lemonade stand. We’re helping kids to learn by doing something that’s fun,” said Saboo.
The program emphasizes the importance of health and nutrition among less privileged students, while teaching them valuable life skills.
“The kids are very into it,” said Ashida. “They want to participate. They are excited about making food and producing a book.”
“Our team members were able to take on this unwieldy task because we all contributed a lot of time and because of the help we received from past winners* as well as Ernst & Young advisors Katie Abraham, Jason Shiffman, and Kim Burke,” said Saboo.
On Thursday, April 21, Ernst & Young gathered with students and faculty of the College in the BIF Commons to recognize the winning team members.
*ILLINOIS Business students also won the Ernst & Young Your World, Your Vision competition last year for their Champaign Community Garden proposal.
4/26/11 Daily Illini Coverage: http://www.dailyillini.com/index.php/article/2011/04/business_students_win_competition_by_developing_youth_cooking_class