Ouachita Baptist University’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team was recently named regional co-champions at the SIFE Regional Competition in Dallas, Texas. As a regional champion, Ouachita’s team will advance to compete at the national competition in Kansas City later this month.
Competing teams each present the projects they have completed throughout the year that have sought to meet SIFE’s goal to empower people in need “by applying business and economic concepts and an entrepreneurial approach to improve their quality of life and standard of living.” Teams were divided into leagues of five or six schools each with the top teams in each league advancing to nationals.
Ouachita’s team of six presenters and its director showcased the 11 projects SIFE has been involved with in the past year, such as working to open a pregnancy resource center, “Go Green or Go Home” initiatives on campus and outreach projects in Honduras.
“We’ve practiced [our presentation] since February,” said SIFE President Britta Stamps, a senior business administration/management and marketing and political science major from Fort Smith, Ark. “Our presentation is scripted and memorized by six presentation team members, and we have a video that shows us working with the kids in Honduras and teaching classes that plays on screen and is timed perfectly with our presentation.”
After the presentation, the judges had the opportunity to ask team members specific questions about the projects.
Looking toward the national competition, Dr. Jim Files said that the students have the opportunity “to sit with business leaders and pick their brains and get face time; it’s really advantageous.” Files serves as faculty sponsor of OBU’s SIFE chapter. “When students aren’t physically competing, they get to go to conferences and talk to the judges about their futures and careers. It’s a really special event for the students who get to go.”
In addition to Stamps, members of the presentation team include: Stephanie Batsel, a senior business administration/marketing and music major from Mansfield, Texas; Judith Brizuela, a junior business administration/management and psychology major from Cortes, Honduras; Michael Crowe, a sophomore business administration/finance major from Donaldson, Ark.; Brittney Jones, a sophomore business administration major from Texarkana, Ark.; and Austin Walsh, a senior psychology major from Dallas, Texas. Tanner Ward, a junior business administration/finance and mass communications major from Bryant, Ark., serves as the presentation team’s director.
Schools are randomly placed in the leagues, meaning small schools like Ouachita can be placed against larger schools such as the University of Texas at Austin. For OBU SIFE, that stiff competition against such a large school did not pose a problem; they walked away as regional champions — something Frank Hickingbotham, namesake of OBU’s Hickingbotham School of Business, affirmed.
After Ward posted a picture on Facebook, Hickingbotham commented on it “and just said that he was so proud of us,” Stamps said. “It was pretty much the best comment on a Facebook picture you could get.”
OBU SIFE will travel to Kansas City, Mo., for the SIFE National Competition on May 21 with hopes to continue on to the World Competition in Washington, D.C., in September.
By Emily Terry, The Signal