High school students from Prince George’s County applied hard skills in a soft drink case competition on April 20, 2018, at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.
Each year, the Smith Undergraduate Program partners with the Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity chapter at UMD to invite 100 local high school students to compete in a case competition that challenges their critical thinking and business skills.
Jeanette Snider, director of the Smith Summer Business Programs and associate director in the Undergraduate Program, kicked off the competition with her opening remarks. Keynote speaker Olumide Akinwande, a business strategy consultant at IBM, then fired up the audience.
“Where do you want to be 10 years from now?” he asked.
Akinwande, a 2011 graduate of Charles H. Flowers High School in Prince George’s County and a 2015 UMD graduate, said almost everyone wants to be a very important person to someone or something. To get to that position, he said, one must have vision, integrity and passion.
He related integrity to the parts of a car working together effortlessly, just as one should do in a team setting. People must “find their own lane, navigating around other cars on the same roads to different destinations,” he said.
Akinwande continued his car metaphor by talking about how one should always be fueled like a car to keep moving forward. He challenged students to think about what fuels them as Alpha Kappa Psi members introduced the case.
The topic focused on innovation within Coca-Cola. Teams compared the benefits of either introducing a new beverage to the market under the CocaCola brand or entering into a new product market. After a quick introduction, students went to breakout sessions where fraternity members focused on specific business functions such as accounting, marketing or finance.
Schools then came back together and had an hour to prepare their solutions and PowerPoint presentations. Suitland High School won the competition and proudly brought Smith School swag back home.
Kevin Li ’19, Marketing and Information Systems double major with a minor in rhetoric; member of the Strategic Design and Innovation Fellows program.