Business Leadership Group Phi Beta Lambda Pivots — and Prevails — at State

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The UT Dallas chapter of the business-career student group Phi Beta Lambda scored more than 20 top finishes at the annual Texas State Leadership Conference last month.

“Much like everything else these days, the Texas division of Phi Beta Lambda had to pivot to find a way to do the conference virtually,” said Dr. Kristen Lawson, advisor to the chapter and a Naveen Jindal School of Management clinical assistant professor in the Organizations, Strategy and International Management Area.

In the new online conference realm, seniors dominated the UT Dallas victories. A dozen seniors scored first-place wins in 18 competition categories. Ten of those seniors were Jindal School students, and six of those 10 took first in two categories.

Akhil Mutyala

Akhil Mutyala was among the six. As he did last year, Mutyala, an information technology and systems senior, again earned two first-place finishes — in Emerging Business Issues and in Management Analysis and Decision Making.

“"Overall, I am really grateful to experience this state conference as it is my last year participating in PBL, and it was very well run on such a short notice,” he said. “Although I had some difficulties competing entirely online, Dr. Lawson, PBL advisor and head of technical operations of state, was able to successfully help me compete in my final college PBL state competition.”

Mutyala, vice president of the UT Dallas PBL chapter this year after serving as president last year, said he has “competed in state and national conferences all four years of college.”

Besides all the first-place showings, UT Dallas competitors scored three second-place and three third-place finishes.

Taha Khan, a finance major, turned in the best showing by a freshman, placing first, with teammate Ankita Bantey, a junior majoring in computer science, in the Marketing Analysis and Decision Making event. Khan, entering solo, placed second in Financial Analysis and Decision Making.

Kristen Lawson

“Once again, our UTD Phi Beta Lambda students demonstrated true Comet spirit by sticking to their prior commitments and triumphing,” Lawson said.

Of the 18 students who initially signed up to take part in the event, only one did not end up being able to participate in the revamped event, according to Lawson.

“I learned a lot that will be very useful for when we host the state leadership conference next spring, which is tentatively set for April 16th and 17th, 2021,” Lawson said.

In the meantime, the top finishers are eligible to compete in PBL’s National Leadership Conference, which is scheduled to take place online June 24-June 26.

Kris Imherr


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