Sophomores and Seniors Win Jindal School Dean’s Cup 2015

Despite its name, the four-man group calling itself “Defense Wins Championships” demonstrated that it takes offense, too, to pull off a big win.

The foursome was one of two Naveen Jindal School of Management teams that scored the most points to win the Dean’s Cup, a multidisciplinary competition that tests undergraduates’ business acumen.

Because the number of competing teams has tripled since the inaugural Dean’s Cup in 2012, teams this year were divided into two categories: lowerclassmen (freshmen and sophomores) and upperclassmen (juniors and seniors).


The team of Defense Wins Championships, which won the lowerclassmen division, included sophomores (left to right) Kristian Sheppard, Stanley Joseph, Peter Ha and Austin Lee.

Team Defense Wins Championships won first place in the lowerclassmen division. The all-sophomore team included Peter Ha, accounting and finance major; Stanley Joseph, accounting and finance major; Austin Lee, accounting major; and Kristian Sheppard, business administration major.

Team “Frank Underwood for President 2016” won the upperclassmen division. The two-man team was made up of seniors Conan Lee and Michael Wu, both accounting and finance majors who named their squad in honor of the fictional U.S. president actor Kevin Spacey portrays on the television series House of Cards. “Since I had just finished watching season three of House of Cards, I was compelled to express my love for the series,” Wu said.


The team of Frank Underwood for President 2016, which won the upperclassmen division, included seniors Michael Wu (left) and Conan Lee.

Both lowerclassmen and upperclassmen Dean’s Cup winners earned a silver trophy and each team split $1,500.

Ha, Joseph and Lee participated in “The Cup” last year as freshmen, but didn’t place. With one competition and many more business courses under their belts, the team felt more prepared and confident this year. They also added a new team member, Sheppard, whom they met in one of their Davidson Management Honors Program classes.

“This year we had Kristian, and he was the most valuable player in my opinion,” Ha said. “Kristian provided the marketing/MIS role, so I think we had taken all the right classes and had the right people for each role.”

“I learned that no matter how many times you fail, you will be rewarded one day. Never give up,” Lee said.

Upperclassmen winners Lee and Wu decided at the last minute to sign up for the competition, thinking that participating would be something fun to do before they graduate in May. Wu participated last year, but found it was harder to agree on multiple-choice answers when there were more than two opinionated team members.

Friends since freshman year, Lee and Wu are more likely than not to agree on issues, making them ideal partners, according to Wu.

“Conan and I take our education very seriously. Despite our focus being on accounting and finance, we never blow other classes off, and we always strive to make A’s. Perhaps due to this reason, when we encountered topics on the exam that came from other business disciplines, we were able to calmly analyze the question and attempt to decipher what the question is actually asking,” Wu said.

The contest consisted of 44 multiple-choice questions drawn from all disciplines taught at the Jindal School. Program directors submitted three to five questions for both divisions, which were then consolidated.

The Dean’s Cup came together as a way to get students to explore outside their fields of study”to find out what’s going on in other disciplines,” John Barden, undergraduate accounting program director, said.

Since the event started, it has continued to grow. This year, 34 teams participated, triple the number the first year. The first year, Dr. Hasan Pirkul, Jindal dean and Caruth Chair of Management, contributed $1,700 in prize money. This year, he contributed $6,500, which was split between both categories. The prize winnings were distributed like this: first place, $1,500; second place, $1,000; and third place, $750.

“Just by the energy in the room, you can see how energetic and fun it is, and the students enjoy it,” Barden said. “Most of all, it’s about the students. It’s not about how much knowledge you have. It’s about working together as a team, and in a business environment, you have to work together as a team.”

Just before the winners were announced, the dean congratulated the students for their hard work and participation.

“The fact that you participated in this tells me that you’re going to be winners in life. People who win, who succeed, are those who want to compete,” Pirkul said. “I’m really proud of you. The future of UTD is in good hands.”

Dean’s Cup 2015 Winners


First place:
Team: Defense Wins Championships
Peter Ha – Accounting and finance, sophomore
Stanley Joseph – Accounting and finance, sophomore
Austin Lee – Accounting sophomore
Kristian Sheppard – Business administration, sophomore

Second place:
Team: Big 4
Huanyu Lu – Finance, sophomore
Ray Xia – Finance, sophomore

Third place:
Team: U Can’t Touch Dis (UTD)
Darrell Bowdon – Information Technology and Systems, freshman
Soham Daptardar – Finance and economics, freshman
Ben Henderson – Finance and economics, freshman
Carlos Rodriguez – Business administration, freshman


First place:
Team: Frank Underwood for President 2016
Conan Lee – Accounting and finance, senior
Michael Wu – Accounting and finance, senior

Second place:
Team: Prestige Worldwide
Matthew Cocco – Information Technology and Systems, junior
Zac Evans – Marketing, senior
Addison Kim – Finance, senior
Yesenia Lopez – Accounting, senior

Third place:
Team: Spent the Night at a Holiday Inn Express
Arindam Bhattacharya – MIS, senior