BYU Holds Business Language Competition

PROVO, Utah – Dec 10, 2015 – Much more complex vocabulary than “ni hao” and “hola” impressed the judges at Brigham Young University’s ninth International Business Language Case Competition.

The competition, sponsored by BYU’s Whitmore Global Management Center, is an annual opportunity for college students from across the country to demonstrate their abilities in both business and language. Competitors were given two weeks to begin preparing a case on an international issue to be presented entirely in either Chinese or Spanish. A new case was written for the competition this year that centered on Blendtec, a high-end blender company. For the first time, the event was extended to a two-day experience that allowed teams the opportunity to visit the company’s Utah headquarters.

“It was a great opportunity to not only participate in the case competition, which is like sports for business students, but also to have the chance to actually see the company in person,” says Laura Lueken, a competitor from Indiana University studying business economics and public policy. “It made for a really great two-day adventure.”

Students were tasked with creating a viable strategy for Blendtec to take its product to an international market. The judges looked for mastery of the language, quality of presentation and soundness of the team’s business plans. In the Chinese division the University of Washington took first place followed by BYU in second and Indiana University in third. In the Spanish category, Babson College placed first, BYU received second place and the University of Washington took third. A total of $7,000 in cash prizes was awarded and the first-place teams also received Blendtec blenders.

“Our students learned a great deal from competing and from meeting so many talented people,” says Virginia Newhall Rademacher, coach of the Babson College Spanish team. “They really enjoyed getting to know the other teams and we were all impressed by the time and care given to every detail leading up to and surrounding the competition itself.”  

The Whitmore Center looks forward to the future growth of the competition and to continuing to help students prepare for careers in an international business world.

“It’s more than a case competition now. It’s become a complete international business learning experience,” says Jonathon Wood, associate director of the center.  “If you’re not training to be a part of global business you’re going to be left behind. Speaking a second language at a high enough level to use business terms will open doors.”

The Marriott School is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. The school has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, entrepreneurship, finance, information systems and public management. The school’s mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,300 students are enrolled in the Marriott School’s graduate and undergraduate programs.

The University of Washington took first place in the BLCC's Chinese division.
Babson College took first place in the BLCC's Spanish division.
Preston Swasey from BYU’s Spanish team presents to the judges.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Brooke Porter