Stetson Wins Big In International Business Ethics Case Competition

The members of Stetson’s winning team, from left: Emma Smith, Sadie Jensen, John Owen and Bella Degenhardt. They are standing in front of Shaw Hall at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Mount Ida Campus, where the competition took place.

Students on Stetson’s Business Ethics Case Competition Team (BECC Team) won four first-place trophies at the International Business Ethics Case Competition, held in Boston April 17-19.

It was a feat never before accomplished in the 27-year history of the event. 

From within the School of Business Administration, Stetson’s team of Sadie Jensen, Bella Degenhardt, John Owen and Emma E. Smith competed against other top undergraduate teams in the competition’s four categories. 

The four-member team won in the Full Presentation (25 minutes); Jensen and Owen won in the 10-minute presentation; and Jensen won in the 90-second presentation. In addition, the team took home the IBECC Biathlon, dubbed “The World’s Most Intellectually Daunting Biathlon.” That winner is determined by cumulative individual and team scores. 

Stetson students won with a presentation case titled “Fighting the Scourge of Fentanyl: Tough Love or Harm Reduction?”

Among the other school competing were Penn State University, Wilkes University, Fordham University, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, California State University at Northridge and College of the Holy Cross.

Teams invited to the IBECC competition select their own case for presentation. Stetson prepared a case titled “Fighting the Scourge of Fentanyl: Tough Love or Harm Reduction?”

Team members assumed the identity of consultants (Top Hat Consulting) who were advising Pfizer Pharmaceuticals on a pilot program for use by universities to guide their response to the opioid epidemic. The pilot program, called the “Pfizer Forward Fund,” was designed for implementation in West Virginia, where the per capita death rate from fentanyl overdose is highest. The target schools for the pilot were nine public universities in that state.   

Winning Experience

“I’ve participated in several business ethics case competitions during my time at Stetson, and the IBECC competition was a great way to conclude my BECC career,” commented Jensen’ 24, a Finance and Accounting major and team captain from New Orleans. “Everyone involved committed themselves to shared success. We spent many hours researching, writing, polishing and rehearsing — but we had a lot of fun in the process, too. Being part of the BECC Team has been a favorite part of my Stetson experience. I have grown intellectually, personally and professionally.”

Owen ’25, a Communications and Media Studies major from Atlanta, presented at the event for the first time. The BECC captain-elect for 2024-2025, he was “extremely thankful for the opportunity.”

“The IBECC competition helped me refine my presentation skills while working with talented and experienced teammates to analyze complex issues,” Owen said.

Degenhardt ’25, a native of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, who majors in Finance and Business Law, also was a newcomer to the event. 

“Although this was my first time competing at IBECC, it was an incredibly rewarding experience,” she said. “As the member responsible for financial analysis and modeling, I gained invaluable insights into building a solid case with strong quantitative backing. This competition not only gave me the chance to work with a talented team, but also reinforced the importance of integrity and ethics in business.”  

Added Smith ’26, an Accounting major from nearby Port Orange: “When I arrived at Stetson, I could never have fathomed being a part of such a remarkable team and experiencing the collegiality we have. This was my second competition of the year and my first time competing at IBECC. I am extremely proud of the dedication of the team, and I look forward to more competitions in the future.” 

Jim Beasley, PhD.

The Stetson BECC Team, now in its 12th year, is under the faculty leadership of professors John Tichenor, PhD, and Jim Beasley, PhD. Not surprisingly, they praised the team’s efforts, citing “very fine analytical skills” and “extraordinarily strong presentation talents.”

“The IBECC judges were extremely impressed with the polished presentations and the strong analytical skills displayed by all four students on our team,” noted   Beasley. 

John Tichenor, PhD

Said Tichenor, “The outstanding performance of Sadie, Bella, John and Emma on this international stage is both illustrative of the capability of our students and supportive of the core values of the university. We hope to give increasingly more students the opportunity to gain this kind of practical educational experience.”