News Byte: Vancouver M.B.A. Students Win Prize in Global Competition


News Byte: Vancouver M.B.A. Students Win Prize in Global Competition

June 21, 2024

Pictured from left: Stella Luoou Li and Kumaran Ahilan

M.B.A. students Stella Luoou Li and Kumaran Ahilan put their business acumen to the test in February when they virtually presented solutions to corporate challenges at Southern Connecticut State University’s Global Business Students Competition. In May, they learned they were recipients of the runner-up prize.

Open to full-time students enrolled in a university’s undergraduate or graduate business program, the competition, which welcomed 134 students representing 19 colleges across 11 countries, tasked Li and Ahilan to work with South Florida Tissue Paper Co. of Miami Gardens, Fla. A virtual meeting with the company owner offered a valuable question-and-answer session to learn about the human resource challenges the company wanted to alleviate.

The pair’s research uncovered that Miami’s labor market sees job tenure ranging from one month to eight years, with a predicted 50 percent likelihood of new hires staying in their role long term. These statistics, impacting South Florida Tissue Paper Co., prompted Li and Ahilan to devise a plan for the business to better retain its employees, including more engaging on-site training programs and a more balanced and innovative policy to manage employees’ cell phone use during work hours.

“I will definitely use many of your proposals in my company, and I can foresee a high level of employee engagement in the future,” the Florida-based company owner stated after Li and Ahilan concluded their presentation. “Let me thank you on behalf of my employees for your contributions.”

Li and Ahilan, who came to study on the Vancouver campus from their homes in China and India, respectively, say the competition was thrilling.

“It was an exciting journey to apply human resource knowledge from my M.B.A. courses to diagnose this company’s intricacies,” Li says. “I strongly believe this experience will be a valuable asset for my future career in human resources.”

Ahilan adds that the competition was productive in prepping him for post-graduation life. “Case studies and real-life projects like this help develop students like myself into an accomplished graduate.”