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Dean Ed Grier with winners of the International Business Case Competition

Dean Ed Grier with winners of the International Business Case Competition

Bridging Horizons: Students Navigate Global Landscape in Leavey International Business Competition

Earlier this month, Leavey undergraduate students demonstrated their strategic acumen and collaborative skills in addressing real-world geopolitical challenges during the International Business Case Competition, offering insight into the future of global business leadership.

Leavey students have long benefited from Santa Clara University’s location in Silicon Valley, a region known worldwide for its entrepreneurial mindset and cutting-edge technological leadership. However, to truly succeed in this epicenter of global innovation and technological advancement, Leavey graduates must be able to think beyond geographic boundaries.  

On Saturday, March 9, 46 Leavey students participated in the School’s first official International Business Case Competition, designed to help students gain valuable insights into market diversification, intricate trade dynamics, regulatory landscapes, and the profound impact of cultural nuances on every facet of business operations. Dean Ed Grier was on hand to announce this year's winning team, composed of Siham Arsalane '26, Joshua Diaz-Christians '26, Madison Jones '25, Nathaniel Roland '26, and Alex Xanthos '25.

After an initial application round, the selected students gathered on the morning of Friday, March 8. Working in teams of five to six, they spent time getting to know one another before being presented with the case study and subsequent questions for analysis. The extensive case study itself was prepared by Leavey students Harper Yang '26, Jenson Hart '26, Will Kibbe '25, Nicholas Le '26, and Bryant Nguyen '25.

For this year's competition, students took on the role of executives from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), a leading pure-play semiconductor manufacturer and Taiwan's largest company. TSMC serves many of the world's most significant chip designers, including Apple, Nvidia, and AMD. In this role, students were asked to address several significant geopolitical challenges, including the risk of war over Taiwan and a flood of semiconductor subsidies worldwide. 

Over the next 24 hours, students worked in teams to address several questions for analysis around supply chain management and innovative chip technology before gathering the following day to present their findings and long-term plans for TSMC to a panel of judges consisting of industry professionals and executives. 

"As a judge, the most rewarding aspect of working with students was witnessing their growth and potential," competition judge and Leavey Executive MBA alumni Angelique Fahy said. "Observing their innovative thinking, problem-solving skills, and enthusiasm for tackling complex real-world business challenges was incredibly fulfilling. It was particularly gratifying to see how they applied theoretical knowledge to a real-life scenario, demonstrating not only their academic understanding but also their creativity and strategic thinking. Additionally, providing feedback and guidance that could shape their future professional paths was a significant and rewarding responsibility."

For participating students, the competition provided a chance to collaborate under time-driven conditions and challenge themselves to apply their accumulated classroom learning to a real-world scenario that fell outside the bounds of the problems they may have encountered in their domestic internships. 

"Participating in the case competition challenge was the first time I had done anything like this, and I was extremely out of my comfort zone," Alex Xanthos said. "All of my team members were extremely friendly, smart, and dependable. While winning was the last thing each of us expected, I believe it was our ability to communicate and work efficiently together under time pressure. We supported each other and built friendships, something I believe led us to victory. Competitions like these require brainpower, yes, but it takes more than just academic intelligence; it takes emotional intelligence as well-- something I believe to be extremely undervalued." 

Undoubtedly, the collaborative essence of the competition, underscored by successful teamwork, emerged as a crucial determinant of success, resonating with judges and students alike.

"This distinctive style of experiential learning created an intentional 'pressure cooker' environment where the students must quickly learn to work with an unknown and diverse set of teammates - you don't always get to pick your teams in the real world either," competition judge David Sangster said. "Teams had to create a sense of ownership and urgency, assess each other's talents, distribute the work accordingly, and trust each other to deliver to the required standard - all extremely important attributes for students to hone and develop. Indeed, if the cohort of students we saw is representative of the Santa Clara University population writ large, the future would be in very good hands."

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