For Students in Free Enterprise, the playoffs of intercollegiate business prowess comes in the form of the yearly regional competition where they compete against other SIFE teams, this year in Minneapolis.
On April 2, 13 students from Simpson attended the regional SIFE competition and competed against other schools for a bid to nationals.
Out of the 34 teams present, 12 were named winners in their in respective league and will go on to the national competition in Dallas in May, Simpson being one of them.
Tom Schmidt, associate professor of management, noted that SIFE is not an organization only meant for business majors as is commonly thought. Students with majors in other fields are welcome to participate, and with their knowledge, SIFE’s projects can branch out into other areas of study.
“The whole idea is it is an outreach program to educate the community about the free-enterprise system,” Schmidt said. “We’ve worked hard to diversify SIFE. This year, over half of the students are non-business majors, and we would like to see that percentage increase.”
Nine students were involved in the actual competition that consisted of a 24-minute presentation of the projects done by Simpson’s SIFE group during the past year. The students discussed how their projects match the six criteria of SIFE in front of a panel of judges that’s made up of top company executives.
At the end, there are seven minutes allotted for the judges to question the students on anything they wish. They can ask anything from why a certain project was selected or how a certain student feels their major has helped them in the SIFE community.
One major benefit of the competition is networking for the students and sponsor companies involved. Many organizations are loyal to SIFE members and look to hire those participating.
Senior Andy Schmidt, president of SIFE, says the career fair at the competition was a nice way to pay back the sponsor organizations, so they can search for potentially future employees.
“A lot of companies will exclusively hire SIFE students for certain positions,” Andy Schmidt said. “It’s rare, but not uncommon, to see job offers being made to presenters as they walk off stage.”
Doing well at the competition also reflects well on Simpson and gives it good recognition in the business community. Junior Emily Marshall, a vice president in SIFE, said businesses might look twice at the resume of a Simpson graduate knowing that Simpson regularly places well at business competitions.
“We’re up against schools like University of Iowa and University of Northern Iowa,” Marshall said. “When we’re able to beat those bigger schools, it shows what a great school Simpson is.”
The national competition will be held in Dallas, May 6-8. Only half of the original team will be going due to some members being unavailable with May Term trips and classes. The competition format will remain the same only with more teams entered and one being named national champion at the end.