ISE undergraduate students won first place in Pamplin Multicultural Diversity Case Competition (from left): Louie Buchen, Mohammed Ali, Felipe Matamoros.

ISE undergraduate students won first place in Pamplin Multicultural Diversity Case Competition (from left): Louie Buchen, Mohammed Ali, Felipe Matamoros.
(from left) Louie Buchen, Mohammed Ali, Felipe Matamoros.

(February 6, 2018) A team of three ISE undergraduate students won first place for their work in the Pamplin Multicultural Diversity Case Competition during the 13th Annual Diversity Conference at Virginia Tech.  ISE juniors Mohammed Ali and Louie Buchen and sophomore Felipe Matamoros teamed up for the consulting case competition, which provided the opportunity for undergraduate students to develop important skills in analyzing and responding to complex business issues involving diversity.

Teams were given several days to analyze the diversity problem in a case study and develop recommendations for the case.  This year, the case was about a company who has been having difficulties with employee diversity for some time.  The company worked on diversifying their employees’ racial/ethical/gender balances, but they did not realize that just because you are diverse in numbers does not mean the work environment is inclusive. Additionally, the company was having issues with people getting along and understanding each other’s various backgrounds and opinions.

The ISE team came up with long- and short-term feasible solutions for the case.  The former includes: the company dedicates itself to forming a team for diversity, and funds current employees to attend diversity conferences. A few short-term solutions are for the company to hold cultural lunches and have a meditation space. The lunches can be brought be employees with different backgrounds and food costs reimbursed. The meditation space is an open environment where employees can go to relax, pray, or get a few moments of silence.

The student teams presented their solutions in a preliminary round to the faculty panel from Virginia Tech.  Upon passing the preliminary round, teams made a 10-minute presentation to the panel of judges comprised of representatives from the corporate sponsors, followed by a 5-minute question and answer period from the judge panel.  The ISE team earned the highest score for their overall work based on six criteria, including presentation skills and practical value of ideas.