Seniors compete in national business competition finals

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Three seniors qualified as finalists in a nationwide Christian business competition, with the chance to land a top prize of $3,000 for each.

The trio Austin Hussain, Freddie Lopez and Miguel Bermudez completed three qualifying rounds in the 2019 GoLiveServe Business Case Competition, and headed for New York City on February 22 and 23 to give their final presentations. They are in the undergraduate division, competing against student teams from Texas’ Baylor University and Tennessee’s Lipscomb University.

“Miguel and I had worked on something similar to this our sophomore year, so we knew that we would want to do this,” Hussain said. He explained that they had imagined Lopez would be interested in the project as well and so reached out to him.

Hussain and Lopez are both finance majors, with Bermudez being a business administration major. The three have been working on their project since last October, under the guidance of business instructor Andrew Shinn.

Each year, entrants in the GoLiveServe competition are provided a case study for an actual (but unidentified) business client. According to the organization’s website, the client is selected from Christian companies operating in “unreached nations” with “a calling to mentor the next generation of missional business professionals”.

Lopez said their project is a hospitality-marketing plan, structured around finding new locations for hotels to be built. People from around the world can stay at these hotels and become familiar with the local culture. The money they pay for their stay is distributed to different charities in the area.

Since the competition is faith-based, the client company “isn’t so predicated on trying to make as much profit as possible, because they are just trying to help people out,” Lopez said. “Our marketing plan is centered around that.”

“This is a great test of how relevant a business degree at Fresno Pacific University is for real-world application,” Shinn said in an emailed statement.

Shinn has mainly offered insight in times of need and reviewed  the students’ work. He explained that he learned about the competition through a network of colleagues at other universities around the world. “This is one of the many benefits of having faculty who are engaged in a wider scholarly community,” Shinn said, “you’re more likely to hear about opportunities like this.”

Regardless of their placement, the trio is guaranteed to win at least $1,500 for making it to the finals.

Shinn left some food for thought about the importance of the experience, stating that “the conference was a chance to connect with other Christians who are trying to be faithful to their callings to take the Gospel into the marketplace. It’s also a chance to show off the quality of their work and position Fresno Pacific as a high-caliber business school.”