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PBL Hosts 400 High School Students at Business Competition

The Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) student organization at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln welcomed 400 Nebraska high school students to the Nebraska Union on February 1 to take part in the American Business Competition (ABC). The competition serves as a preparatory event for Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) students wanting to compete in FBLA local and national events later in the year.

Cody McCain, a freshman majoring in accounting and finance, helped coordinate the annual event which he competed in himself while attending Tri-County High School, located near DeWitt, Nebraska, where he grew up.

“In high school, I was very involved with FBLA,” said McCain. “My junior year I served as the state reporter, and my senior year I was state president of FBLA from among 5,800 students participating in Nebraska.”

McCain lends hand as conference coordinator
McCain lends hand as conference coordinator
When he saw the position of ABC conference coordinator was open, McCain immediately applied for the job.

“I knew there were changes that could be made to make the competition better. Since it’s a preparation for FBLA’s state leadership conference, I wanted to update the testing at ABC to match the standard testing done at FBLA. It required updating 13 different tests which was a lot of work,” he said.

He also believed it was important to introduce new activities so students participating multiple times at ABC would get new experiences.

“We organized a brand new quiz bowl competition in the afternoon to offer students something different. Thirty schools participated in the quiz bowl. We put the teams in brackets and had them compete against each other, and Lincoln Southwest High School was the quiz bowl champion,” he said.

Mark Davis, academic advisor and recruiter at the College of Business Administration, recognized McCain’s take charge attitude early on.

“I met Cody when he was in high school at FBLA events,” Davis said. “He stood out as someone who showed great poise and leadership. Leading up to the event we met regularly and I was impressed with his ability to handle everything from parking logistics to negotiating and ordering the trophies.”

FBLA students participate in quiz bowl
FBLA students participate in quiz bowl
Another addition to the event that McCain helped arrange, was a keynote address delivered by Mark Pogue, assistant professor of practice for the Clifton Strengths Institute at CBA. Pogue talked to students about knowing their strengths and using them in their daily life to improve both their professional and personal experiences. 

Dr. Tammy Beck, associate dean for graduate programs and external engagement at CBA, delivered the opening keynote address.

McCain said he received positive feedback from high school advisors about changes made to the event and hopes to bring even more new ideas to the competition next year.

PBL is the collegiate level student organization designed to accommodate students who participated in FBLA in high school. To learn more about PBL at UNL contact Davis at
Published: February 4, 2016