Jon M. Huntsman School of Business

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Monday, March 31, 2014

World champions

By Steve Eaton

Five Huntsman School students competed in another March Madness, going beyond the “final four” to claim an international championship.

Two student teams claimed first and second place in a competition sponsored by the Association for Information Systems that drew students from 28 universities and three countries.

“It’s nice to have some international champions roaming our hallways,” said David Olsen, head of the Management Information Systems Department. “This is the second year in a row students from our AIS student chapter have come out of this major competition with a first and second place win.”

Huntsman students Allan Follett, Conner Sorensen and Chad Williams, entered a contest that required them to create a video about information systems. Their production focused on explaining what the phrase “big data” means and why students who study in this area have increased job opportunities.

“We go through our whole education wondering if we are getting better at what we are doing,” said Williams. “We want to know how we’ll compare to the competition when we graduate. So this was a validation for us from a large organization and it was gratifying to know the judges liked what we created.”

Vishal Patel and Divya Reddy competed in the IT security category and took second place. To qualify as finalists they were asked to take on a case study that involved a company with very complex IT problems that wanted to simplify its systems and get a better return on investment. For the final competition Patel said they spent hours refining his group’s original proposal and after their presentation the judges told them that they were among the best prepared of any of the students at the event.

“It’s sort of hard to sell soft skills in a job interview,” noted Williams. “Companies want people who can work in a team and this win, which required lots of teamwork, is something we can point to as an example of what we are capable of doing while working with others.”

The contest was part of the AIS 2014 Student Chapter Conference and Competition that was hosted by Arizona State University and sponsored by major companies including Wal-Mart and State Farm.

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