Strategy Competition

2014 Professional Responsibility Strategy Competition

The 2014 Professional Responsibility Strategy Competition offered Illinois students the chance to address real-world business problems while specifically focusing on ethical and professional responsibility issues. This exciting third annual event was sponsored by the University of Illinois and supported by BP. Nine interdisciplinary teams comprised of students from business, engineering, law and related disciplines had the unique opportunity to observe the BP trading floor and oil refinery, as well as meet and hear presentations from BP managers. read more about the 2014 Strategy Competition

2012: BP leads college exercise in professional responsibility

Working with the University of Illinois Center for Professional Responsibility in Business and Society, BP Integrated Supply and Trading Global Oil-Americas (IST GO-A) sponsored and led 36 undergraduate and graduate students in a strategy competition that addressed the professional responsibility challenge involved with building a downstream fuels business in a developing nation.

In the strategy competition each team presented their analysis and solutions to a distinguished panel of judges from BP, the University of Illinois, legal, and business professions. The team that presented the best articulation of case objectives won the top prize of $2,000 in scholarships. “This is our second year and BP’s partnership with the Center continues to deepen and grow,” said IST GO-A Head of Operations Tim Harms. “This competition further advances the dialogue about the importance of professional responsibility with both current and future business leaders.” “Gretchen Winter, the Executive Director for the Center, and I were thrilled by the level of interest in this competition and the outstanding quality of students who applied. We picked the best of the best and ended up with a mix of students from 11 different countries with a wide range of academic and cultural backgrounds. The diversity of the student teams was fantastic and many of the students mentioned that this level of diversity was one of the unique benefits of this competition.”

Said Zackary Starbird from BP IST Legal: “The student teams that participated in the University of Illinois Professional Responsibility Strategy Competition were outstanding. They committed an enormous amount of time and energy into their presentations. As judges in the final round, we were very impressed by the quality of the presentations of the finalist teams.”

Said Jim Bordignon from BP IST Legal, Ethics and Compliance: “The students who participated in the Professional Responsibility Strategy Competition clearly developed a deeper understanding of the complex ethical and legal challenges facing professionally responsible businesses today. The commitment, enthusiasm, and performance of the students demonstrates the value and the importance of the alliance between BP and the University of Illinois and its Center for Professional Responsibility in Business and Society, an alliance that we will continue to grow.” As part of the competition, the students traveled to BP’s Chicago office and the Whiting refinery. Their itinerary included BP presentations about refining, IST, bribery and corruption, HSSE and community outreach.

Students expressed these sentiments, reflecting the positive experience of all participants:
– “This case competition helped me step out of my comfort zone and develop as a responsible global operator. The main takeaway I learned from this case competition was that you need to stay true to your values in both your personal life and professional career.”
– “I appreciate the contribution of staff of BP and the Center of Professional Responsibility. The Professional Responsibility Strategy Competition is the most well-prepared event I ever participated, especially the trip to Chicago office and Whiting Refinery.”

The winning team included students Akash Moradia, Yanzhong Deng, Xiongwei Zhang and Jessica Weaver. Best Speaker and Best Q&A awards went to students Nicholas Connolly, Lindsay Gross, Jessica Weaver, Nikhitaa Sundaravadivelpandiyan, Arjun Dutta, Yijin Iris Zhang and Akash Moradia.

2011: Multidisciplinary Teams Challenged in New Professional Responsibility Strategy Competition

The inaugural 2011 Professional Responsibility Strategy Competition was sponsored by the Center for Professional Responsibility in Business and Society, BP, the Center for International Business Education and Research, and the James Scholar Executive Committee. Six teams took on a complex 66-page case that situated them as analysts employed by a fictional international energy company, World Petroleum, Inc. Their challenge was to create a business plan to build a long term, financially successful downstream oil business in Afrinia, a fictional developing African nation. The plan’s objectives also needed to include the team’s vision of professional responsibility within the business, as well as the Afrinian society in which it operates. read article »