SIFE places third at regional competition

by Jessie Ernst

Once again, Simpson College’s Students in Free Enterprise team was chosen to compete in the SIFE Regional Competition.

This year the competition was held in Minneapolis on March 31, and the team placed third.

Simpson’s team was chosen from the more than 800 SIFE teams in the United States. The past two years, Simpson has come home as winners and participants had high hopes again this year.

“I have high expectations for our team because we are going in more prepared this year than in the past, and in the past we have done extremely well,” senior Abby Janssen said.

Tom Schmidt, assistant professor of management and SIFE adviser, said the team had a very good chance of placing in the 2006 competition.

“I think the projects they developed this year are more in tune with the SIFE mission,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt said the competition was as strong as ever.

“It was very tough competition this year,” Schmidt said.

SIFE focuses on five educational topics, which the teams are challenged to use in order to develop their community outreach projects. These five topics are market economics, success skills, entrepreneurship, financial literacy and business ethics.

For the competition this year, Simpson’s team worked on 11 projects to present. Some of them include: working with Girl Scouts of America on training for cookie sales, developing a marketing brochure for Victory Christian Academy in Indianola and creating an Internet map of the Indianola square and businesses.

The team attended the regional competition with these projects. There were five or six teams competing against them in their bracket. They were given 25 minutes for the presentation of their project and then five minutes for a question and answer period.

A career fair was also held during the competition. About 25 companies attended seek out and hire future employees. This is one of senior Amanda Hoffman’s favorite aspects of the competition.

“It’s a really good experience to see a lot of professionals at the career fair,” Hoffman said. “You get to network with a lot of different people.”

One of the main goals of SIFE is networking. The global, non-profit organization focuses on providing team members with leverage in their personal educational experiences, the expertise of their faculty advisors, the support of their local business advisory boards, and the resources of their institutions to implement programs that create real, economic opportunities for members of their community.

These components are all key in Simpson’s SIFE team presentations.

Schmidt said the program helps students in these areas.

“It creates awareness of the college,” Schmidt said. “It also gets our students out and networking.”

Janssen said this was her first time participating in the competition, and she was impressed with the level of competition.

“The competition is something that I’d never experienced before,” Janssen said. “The atmosphere and the level of competition is extraordinary.”

Hoffman said one of the reasons she went was to expand her knowledge.

“It’s great to meet other students and find out about their projects,” Hoffman said. “It’s a really good experience to get the opportunity and learn about the business world.”