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Anh Nguyen '13 Contributes to Team Victory in Intercollegiate Competition

ROCHESTER, N.Y, Feb. 18, 2013 — Anh Nguyen '13 thrives off the thrill of a challenge. The senior Business Administration major could have coasted through her Colby-Sawyer years, racking up just enough credits to reach graduation, but the bare minimum does not satisfy Nguyen.

This is why, when she stumbled on the Simon Graduate School of Business's Early Leaders Case Competition, she saw an opportunity. The results of the competition proved her right, as Nguyen returned to Colby-Sawyer with her share of the cash prize for first place.

The annual event took place between Friday, Nov.2 and Saturday, Nov. 3 at the University of Rochester. Any undergraduate student could apply to participate in the competition, but only 50 applicants were selected. Once there, the participants were assigned to one of ten five-person teams in which they would work for the next 20 hours reviewing a case and developing a presentation.

Anh was grouped with Roshal Patel of the University of Rochester, Francis Sirch of Ursinus College, Kyle Zaverton and Amanda Carney, both of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. As Nguyen was only meeting her teammates for the first time, there was some initial social anxiety to overcome. “At first we didn't really speak out about everything,” Nguyen explains, “but we quickly realized that this could be really harmful to the team. We only had 20 hours to solve the case.” Each team was assigned the same task: to develop a social media strategy for American Express so that the company could compete with Visa and MasterCard. After the 20 allotted hours for deliberation and preparation, each team presented their solution to a panel of judges whose evaluation was based on originality, depth of insight, relevance of the presentation and responses to questions.

“It was kind of stressful and intimidating at first,” Nguyen says of the working process. “Each of us had really strong opinions, so we had to develop good team-building skills.”

Nguyen soon found her Colby-Sawyer education coming into play. “In business courses, especially during my senior year, we've worked a lot in teams. That helped a lot,” she says. “I'm also interested in consulting, so I was able to apply everything I've learned about working with deadlines and managing stress.”

However, Nguyen also realized that such a competition encompasses much more than what takes place in the classroom. “A textbook only covers one subject,” she explains, “but we had to pull in every subject we've learned and apply it to the case.”

At the awards dinner on Saturday evening, it was announced that Nguyen and her teammates received first place. On why they won, she offers the succinct explanation, “We showed confidence.”

In addition to the awarded cash prize, Nguyen walked away from the competition with newfound personal insight. “We each learned a lot about what we could contribute to a team,” she says. “The competition helped me see myself among other people.”

Nguyen hopes to continue challenging herself with these sorts of experiences in her graduate pursuits.

-David Hart '13

Colby-Sawyer College is a comprehensive college that integrates the liberal arts and sciences with professional preparation. Founded in 1837, Colby-Sawyer is located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire.

Colby-Sawyer College, 541 Main Street, New London, N.H. 03257 (603) 526-3000