Ten students from the College of Business Administration Honors Academy at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln improved their group communication and problem solving skills at the Leadership Challenge Event at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, March 2-3. The competition featured a live simulation where teams assumed roles within a fictional city, made decisions together and handled adverse situations throughout the day.
The challenge involved a fictitious city called Metropolis where an epidemic hit at the same time as the city’s centennial celebration. Teams determined whether to cancel the celebration and lose revenue, or risk moving forward. They competed to overcome obstacles and confront challenges to ultimately navigate the scenario and demonstrate leadership knowledge. Competing in the event the last four years, this year’s Nebraska participants received the Team Communication Award, Team Collaboration Award and second place overall in the collegiate division.
“The Leadership Challenge Event tested my ability to work in a team to solve a problem under stressful circumstances. We successfully collaborated to bring together each piece of information that each team member provided. Our team was successful because of our adaptability and listening skills,” said Sophie Podhaisky, a junior management and marketing major from Richland, Washington. “From this experience, I gained a better idea of how I lead as an individual and how I contribute most effectively to a team.”
During the challenge, live actors who represented community leaders ensured a more realistic experience for the participants by asking questions and presenting potential problems. Students learned about the details of the competition when they arrived and worked on-the-spot to complete the challenge. Judges monitored each team throughout the competition and provided feedback at the end of the day about the effectiveness of their leadership strategies.
“It was interesting to see the students operate in situations where there wasn’t any specific knowledge needed or preparation they could have done to be successful. The goal of the event is to put students in extenuating circumstances where they will tap into their leadership abilities to come to a solution. In a lot of ways, it’s about how they got to the solution, rather than the solution itself,” said Patrick Smith, graduate assistant for the CBA Honors Academy, who attended with the students.
Students who participated in the challenge include:
Casey Arritt, Omaha, Nebraska, freshman business administration major
David Petersen, Lincoln, Nebraska, freshman international business and marketing major
Maggie Schlecht, Elmhurst, Illinois, freshman actuarial science major
Megan McCann, Stillwater, Oklahoma, freshman actuarial science major
Bryan Kirkebak, Omaha, Nebraska, sophomore accounting and finance major
Grant Schirmer, Lincoln, Nebraska, sophomore actuarial science major
Kylee Yakel, Lincoln, Nebraska, sophomore, actuarial science major
Sophie Podhaisky, Richland, Washington, junior management and marketing major
Michael Siefert, Hickman, Nebraska, junior actuarial science major
Courtney Bogle, Austin, Minnesota, senior finance major
To learn more about the CBA Honors Academy, visit: http://cba.unl.edu/honors