Students Lauded for International Business Plans

Two Bill Greehey School of Business students took first-place honors in the undergraduate category Saturday at the fourth annual International Business Plan Program sponsored by the Free Trade Alliance, and five more competed for the second-place team.

Lucia Alvarez and Paola Retes each received $800 for being on the five-person, first-place team. Marcela Alcala, Ernesto Negrete, Antonio LaFuente, Julia Yanar and Joseph O’Hare won $400 each for being on the second-place undergraduate team.

More than 140 students from 30 universities in 23 countries competed, and the awards luncheon was held Saturday at Rackspace Corporate Headquarters.

The finalist teams also delivered presentations to celebrity executives, including Preston Atkinson of Whataburger, Kirstin Silberschlag of Valero Companies, and St. Mary’s graduate Bjorn Dybdahl of Bjorn’s Audio Video.

The International Business Plan Program was created to help students use their business skills in a real-world setting while cooperating with students from across the world.

“Through the program, students work on cross-cultural teams of 4-5 students with an executive level mentor in writing a 10-12 page business plan,” said Kyle Burns, President and CEO of Free Trade Alliance. “This is the only program of its kind that brings students from around the world together on a cross-cultural team. Adding to its relevance and importance in today’s global economy, many of the students and mentors never meet in person, simulating a multinational work environment.”

St. Mary’s University repeatedly has been nationally recognized for its commitment to service and community engagement. The Carnegie Foundation has given St. Mary’s its prestigious Community Engagement Classification, and St. Mary’s has received the Presidential Award from the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition for service in higher education. St. Mary’s University is a Catholic and Marianist university with a tradition of academic excellence.

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