Three students in the Kelley School of Business won first place in the Spanish-language division of the Business Language Case Competition at Brigham-Young University on Nov. 8.
Junior Paul Gilson and seniors Nathan Lohrmann and Brianna Terrell brought home a trophy and $2,000 prize from the competition in Provo, Utah.
In the competition, each team received a Harvard Business Review case in Spanish and had to make a presentation and answer questions in Spanish about the case involved.
The team was selected from participants in the Undergraduate Consulting Workshop by professor and Consulting Workshop director Joel Rubin. Their Spanish coach was a lecturer in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Israel Herrera, who also prepares Kelley students for Globase, Emerging Markets Experience and Business study-abroad programs in Spanish-speaking countries.
“I worked with them for one hour per week for almost two months,” Herrera said.
Gilson is an economic consulting major and Spanish minor. Lohrmann is majoring in production and operations management and marketing. Terrell is a senior Wells Scholar majoring in finance and international business with minors in Spanish and Portuguese.
This was the first time Gilson participated in the competition.
“At first I felt slightly behind because of Nate and Brianna’s experience with cases, but as we continued to work together, we all found our respective niches within the team,” Gilson said.
All three team members have experience abroad in a Spanish-speaking country where they gained their Spanish fluency. Both Terrell and Lohrmann studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain. Gilson worked as a development intern in Nicaragua and studied with the IU Honors Program in Ciudad Real, Spain.
“I had very high expectations of this team,” Herrera said. “Their Spanish was almost like a native speaker’s.”
Before the competition, they met every day for a week to prepare their presentation and analysis.
“Their business background was so great,” Herrera said. “They were confident on all of the business information they had to deal with.”
Other schools that participated included Arizona State University, Rutgers University and University of Notre Dame.
“It’s a huge honor for the Kelley School of Business,” Herrera said. “They were competing against a lot of prestigious universities.”
Gilson said he was surprised at first.
“The moment I heard that we placed first, my face lit up, and I was almost in disbelief,” Gilson said. “But when I thought about it, I knew we had put in the work to deserve first place.”
Herrera said he is not only proud of the students but also proud that they came from his department.
“It shows the Spanish they’ve learned in my department has benefited them,” Herrera said. “I’m very proud of them.”
Follow reporter Sara Boyle on Twitter @BOYLEr_alert.