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K-State Today

September 19, 2023

Agricultural economics case study team wins international competition

Submitted by Mary Sullivan

A team of doctoral candidates — Walter Ac Pangan, Priyanka Sharma, Catherine Obiribea Ofori-Bah, Lonnie Hobbs Jr., and master's student Manoj Sharma — won the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association's, or IFAMA, 2023 Student Case Competition. Led by faculty advisor Aleksan Shanoyan, the team from the agricultural economics department competed in Christchurch, New Zealand, June 17-19. 

"Our team was determined to continue the tradition of K-State ag econ students placing in case study competitions and directed significant time and effort in preparing for this competition," Shanoyan said. "They spent many hours over the course of several weeks prior to the competition refining their knowledge of economic and management concepts, practicing case analysis, and enhancing their teamwork abilities."

Twenty-two teams from around the world competed to analyze case studies in front of professional and academic judges. In each round, teams either analyzed or revised a case study and were scored based on their presentation and responses to questions from the judges. The team scored in the top five to advance to the semifinals and in the top two to advance to the final round, where they later won the competition.

"The IFAMA case study competition was a time-bound group task," Manoj Sharma said. "We had to develop a solid understanding of the case — which involved analyzing whether Bayer Company should partner with an NGO in Honduras — and identify challenges faced by the company along with potential pragmatic approaches to address them." 

Shanoyan helped prepare the team for the competition.

"During the preparation stage, I helped them in developing a toolbox of the most applicable economic and management concepts, provided advice on the process of case analysis and preparation and delivery of effective solutions," Shanoyan said. "During the competition, my role was limited to providing encouragement and cheering for our team. Ultimately, it was the students' hard work and determination that led to the team's success."

Working under the time constraints of the competition added an extra challenge while developing their strategy.

"Equally challenging were the time constraints and combining the different views and approaches of each team member," Ofori-Bah said. "There was a limited timeframe to identify the underlying themes and challenges and develop practical strategic solutions to address these challenges while incorporating the different perspectives of each of us on the team."

The team was formally recognized for their accomplishment at the IFAMA Presidential Banquet and during an awards ceremony. Cash awards and other prizes were awarded at a later date.

"It's a testament to our team's ability to apply the knowledge and skills we've gained in a highly competitive international platform," Priyanka Sharma said. "It underscores the strength of our curriculum and the expertise of our faculty, as well as the potential of our students."