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Global Teams Compete in the Accounting and Analytics IB Agility Labs

Nov 20, 2020

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As part of the #KeepGlobalSmith initiative, the Robert H. Smith School of Business Center for Global Business at the University of Maryland held the Accounting and Analytics/IS International Business (IB) Agility Labs on November 11-13 and November 18-20, respectively. These complete the first half of the six IB Agility Labs that will take place this academic year. The IB Agility Labs are short virtual case competitions that allow undergraduate students to learn from global business leaders, collaborate with international peers, and focus on business resilience. During these labs, students benefit from exposure to an international company, work on teams with business students around the world, and gain hands-on case experience to build their resumes and CVs. Each lab focuses on a functional area of business and features a live case from a company based outside the U.S. The winning team receives a certificate to honor their achievement.

Congratulations to Dajah Chambers (Bowie State), Brianna Hooks (Bowie State), Gauri Mahendru (HKU), Hiu Lam Liu (HKUST), and Allison Lu (Maryland Smith) for winning the accounting case competition and Sara Baig (UMD), Carlos Flores Komatsu (UNAV), Joshua Lobo (UMD), and Arlene Zheng (UMD) for winning the analytics/IS case competition.

Jenifer Ramirez Tabraj, class of 2022, said this about her participation in the program, “This experience has been one of the highlights of my school year. This experience reminded me how great working on a diverse team can be and also encouraged me to look for similar opportunities in which my global mindset can be developed.”

Maryland Smith partnered with the student organizations Association of Latino Professionals in Finance & Accounting (ALPFA), Ascend at UMD, and the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) to host the accounting lab and received participation from Bowie State University, the University of Hong Kong (HKU), Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), and Ashesi University in Ghana. The case was delivered by Sleek, a company based in Singapore that provides accounting and tax services for small and medium-sized businesses. Maryland Smith also partnered with the student organization Business Information Technology Society (BITS) to deliver the analytics/IS lab and received participation from Ivey Business School in Canada, the University of Navarra in Spain, and Vienna University of Economics and Business in Austria. This case was conducted by Pentation Analytics, a data analytics company concentrating in insurtech, banking, and financial services based in India.

With over 100 participants and 10 mixed multinational teams per lab, students participating in the accounting lab were asked to reflect on how technology can automate accounting processes, explain what financial and accounting information is critical to help clients manage their businesses, and recommend a model for pricing accounting services, all in support of Singapore’s goal of becoming a leading “smart nation.” Students who took part in the analytics/IS lab were asked to provide a SWOT analysis of the company’s product offering in the U.S. insurance market, a recommendation for market expansion into Europe, and recommended user adoption strategies for its product offerings. The agility labs provided the opportunity for students to learn about global markets and collaborate with their peers across multiple time-zones to come up with globally-scalable solutions to real-world problems.

The labs are part of the wider #KeepGlobalSmith initiative, highlighting opportunities for students to gain a global mindset in the absence of travel. Rebecca Bellinger, executive director, Center for Global Business said this about the initiative, “We’re investing in programs that present new opportunities for faculty to bring global into their classrooms, for industry to stay competitive in the global economy, and for students to connect through technology with peers and companies around the world. The agility labs are just one example of how a global mindset starts at home.”

A special thank you to the judges that oversaw these competitions. The formal judging panel for the accounting lab included Eugene Cantor, associate clinical professor of the accounting and information assurance department; Jacqueline Manger, managing director of the Ed Snider Center for Enterprise and Markets both of Maryland Smith, and Abhjieet Biswas, MBA ’00, managing director, 7i Advisors LLP. The formal judging panel for the analytics/IS lab consisted of Sujin Kim, associate clinical professor; Zeinab Karake, clinical professor; Arnie Greenland, professor of practice, all of the decision, operations and information technologies department at Maryland Smith, and Mikael Baker, MBA ’12, senior ICT advisor, Center for Digital Development, USAID.

Undergrad students can apply now for the finance, entrepreneurship, and supply chain management agility labs taking place in spring 2021.

This event was supported in part by a Title VI grant program known as CIBE (Centers for International Business Education) administered by the U.S. Department of Education. 

— By Jordan Heitzner, graduate assistant, Center for Global Business

About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty master's, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.

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