February 6, 2020
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Temple University beat out fellow finalists, the University of Delaware and La Salle University, in the Eighth Annual KPMG Essent Intercollegiate Business Ethics Case Competition on Jan. 24. The event was hosted by the Arrupe Center of Ethics at Saint Joseph’s University. Students Nick Disciullo, Bryan Huang, Courtney Sabanas and Eliana Yi worked together to present a solution to an ethical dilemma to a panel of judges from the business community. 

Students Eliana Yi, Courtney Sabanas, Nick Disciullo and Bryan Huang with their awards.

The team had three hours to prepare a presentation about the case, in which a recent MBA graduate and vice-president of a Ukrainian investment bank must decide whether to invest in the new Ukrainian stock market. The presentation included their suggested recommendations and their process for arriving at those conclusions. The judging included ten minutes of presentation and ten minutes of questions for both the first and final rounds. Students have the opportunity to practice presentation skills, exercise critical thinking and network with other area college students.

The students prepared by reviewing ethical dilemma models and speaking to a past winner, Mary Tang, BA ‘18, MAcc ‘19. Freshman Courtney Sabanas says, “Another way that we prepared was to review some general texts from accounting books on ethics in the industry. We needed something structured that could integrate a lot of information. We weren’t given the case ahead of time, so we had to show up with a plan of how we were going to break down the information.”

Professor David Jones, the team’s faculty advisor, lead their preparation, but says the win was all the students’. “Each member of the team contributed to the win with their individual intellect, personality, ethical values and presentation ability,” he says.

Sabanas, an accounting major and honors student, was drawn to the case competition because of its topic: business ethics. She became interested in ethical leadership after attending the talk by Cynthia Cooper, WorldCom whistleblower, in the fall. Sabanas is also a member of the Student Center for the Public Trust, Temple Chapter. Sabanas says, “I think the topic is important to business students, as we are the future of the industry and it’s crucial to ingrain ethical practices into the workplace.”

This year’s case competition included teams of freshman and sophomore business students from Villanova University, La Salle University, West Chester University, University of Delaware, St. Joseph’s University, Rowan University and Drexel University. Temple University previously won the competition in 2013, 2014 and 2016.