UT Dallas Wins Ethics Case Competition

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Combining unique skills and strengths to form a successful partnership, junior Ethan Mader and freshman Paulina Hruskoci recently captured first place at the 17th annual Collegiate Ethics Case Competition at the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona.

It was the second time that UT Dallas has won the competition. Two Naveen School of Management students also placed first in 2014.

In Tucson Oct. 17-19, Mader and Hruskoci competed against teams from 24 universities across the country. They edged out The University of Texas at Austin for the victory. Rounding out the top five were the University of Florida in third, Indiana University in fourth and Pennsylvania State University in fifth place.

Mader, an accounting major in the Professional Program in Accounting, and Hruskoci, studying political science in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, were a great example of two people working together and succeeding, according to Jindal School Clinical Assistant Professor of Accounting Christina Betanzos, who has served as the faculty advisor for the UT Dallas team the past two years.

“Their win demonstrates the students’ dedication to not only conduct thorough research and come up with creative solutions and recommendations, but also their motivation to represent the University well and collaborate effectively,” Betanzos said.

From left: Dr. Paul Melendez, professor and founder of the Center for Leadership Ethics, University of Arizona; Paulina Hruskoci; Christina Betanzos; Ethan Mader and Michael Fricke, senior lecturer and associate director of the Center for Leadership Ethics, University of Arizona

This year’s case centered on Boeing and its response to the two deadly crashes of its 737 Max airplanes in 2018. Teams were asked to evaluate the company’s handling of the crisis and develop recommendations for Boeing moving forward.

After researching the background of Boeing’s issues and establishing a position, Mader said it was the practice presentations in front of Betanzos and other Jindal School faculty members that helped refine their content and presentation strategies, and improved their performance at the competition.

“We did not want to be too dense with our information and instead focused on our presentation style and bringing our energy and enthusiasm,” Mader said. “We wanted to make it interesting and relevant for our audience.”

The competition consists of a 30-minute prepared presentation, followed by questions from the panel of professional judges. In the final round, the finalists must pare their presentation to 10 minutes. Hruskoci credits the cohesiveness with Mader for their success throughout the competition.

“Ethan and I worked so well together, and I think our strong partnership really showed in the presentation. We were able to bounce ideas off of each other and adapt really quickly, especially in the improv-question rounds,” she said.

Betanzos believes the opportunity to further develop their presentation, communication and teamwork skills is an important benefit of students participating in this and other competitions.

“You have to explain your stance in a clear and concise way, so you come out of it being a better communicator, which is important because every job will have some type of communication component,” Betanzos said.

For their victory, Mader and Hruskoci each received $500 and an all-expense-paid trip to the Ethics Global Summit hosted by Ethisphere in New York City in April 2020.

Caryn Berardi

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