DAVIE — Teenagers flexed their academic muscles last weekend, and won thousands of dollars in scholarships for their efforts.
The South Florida chapter of the National Black MBA Association, Inc.’s Leadership and academic enrichment program won third place and $5,000 at the Ninth Annual Leaders of Tomorrow (LOT) National Case Competition at Nova Southeastern University on Saturday, June 26.
The Dallas-Fort Worth LOT team won first place with an award of $15,000, and the second-place prize of $10,000 went to the Houston chapter.
Twenty three teams of four high school students from across the country presented a graduate-level business case analysis in order to win the scholarships.
“I know that the work we put in [preparing for the competition], gave us a great result,” said 17-year old Dominic Anthony, a Miramar High School senior who was competing in the Case Competition for the second time.
Last year, South Florida’s team placed second. Before that, the South Florida team won the competition in 2007, but this was the first year the South Florida chapter of NBMBAA hosted the event.
Teams were given three months to prepare a case analysis of the United States super store chain Wal-mart, and compare it to its British counterpart, Tesco.
Preparing the case involved researching each company, from its business strategies, to marketing efforts, to financial forecasts and practicing giving the final presentation.
Meeting nearly every Saturday since the case information was released in April, the South Florida LOT team also worked two “all nighters” — practicing the presentation until 3 a.m. —two consecutive days before the competition, according to South Florida team member Andrew Meade, 18.
Meade, who has com-peted in the LOT Case Competition for three years, said he believes all the hard work will benefit him.
“Doing all this now is an insight into the world of business. It gives me a head start,” said the recent Mast Academy graduate who plans to get a Master of Business Administration degree in the future.
Established in 2001 by the National Black MBA Association, the LOT competition began with four teams competing for a prize of $100. Since the first year, the competition has been able to offer over $65,000 in scholarship money and prizes.
According to Cedric Mobley, one of the founding members of the LOT Case Competition and current chairman of the Washington, D.C. Leaders of Tomorrow program, the competition was created to challenge the low expectations assigned to minority and at-risk students.
“Kids, especially at-risk or minority kids, are constantly disappointed from what’s expected of them,” Mobley said. “They want to show that they are capable of achieving on that [higher] level.”
So, Mobley said, “We tried to think of the most difficult thing we could ask [the students] to do from an academic perspective.”
In addition to business acumen, B.J. Webb, the chairman for the Atlanta chapter of the National Black MBA Inc.’s Leaders of Tomorrow program, said the competition offers other lessons.
“I think it also helps as a business person to hone confidence…to be able to stand and present to other business people,” Webb said. “We hope that they’re able to carry that over in other areas of their school and life.”
Some young people saw other potential advantages.
Before the competition, Samantha Turner, 16, a senior at North Miami Beach Senior High, revealed her attitude about the contest: “Even if we don’t win
one dime, [competing] will feel like another accomplishment.”