Real-World Business Problems in the NJC4 – Posted 5/3/17

A team of five County College of Morris (CCM) students recently joined together to solve a real-world business challenge that landed them a third-place award in a prestigious Rutgers Business School competition.

Assistant Professor Susan Miller was their coach in the County College Case Competition (NJC4), but gives full credit to her students’ outstanding efforts. “These kids basically did it on their own,” Miller says, “They’d filled me in every so often on where they were, but I’d have to say this was completely their work.” The work she refers to involved three months of analysis and writing, beyond the students’ usual school assignments.

“We worked together on all of it,” says Devin Gribbon, of Roxbury, of her team. “Rutgers gave us a business case, including the background and financial information for a fictional company called Friendface – a parody of Facebook. Every college team got the same business problem to solve.”

The CCM team met once or more every week for months, working until 11 p.m., to answer case questions, create SWOT and business-risk analyses, as well as to formulate assumptions and recommendations. Their professional business proposal was presented in a 20-minute PowerPoint presentation to the judges, followed by a 10-minute question-and-answer session. Gribbon’s team members, recruited from CCM’s Alpha Beta Gamma Honor Society and its sister club Young Entrepreneurs of America, included Mohammed Rahmatullah, of Parsippany; Kayla Lalji, of Wharton; Mark Lalo, of Parsippany; and Ethan Madera, of Mt. Olive.

The goal of the NJC4 competition is to provide New Jersey county college students, from diverse backgrounds and disciplines, with the opportunity to collaborate, network and demonstrate their talent, knowledge and skills to a panel of expert judges as they solve a real-world business problem. The challenge allows them to use their creativity, analytics and presentation skills well beyond the classroom environment.

“Our students were so well prepared,” Miller says. “They were dressed appropriately, the slides were well done, and their knowledge and speaking abilities were stellar. I was impressed with their presentation, and then they hit the ball out of the park in the Q&A session. They answered the judges’ questions with poise and professionalism.”

Miller says the NJ4C competition is important because it provides students with exposure to the business world, including how to give a professional presentation.

“Even if they hadn’t placed in the competition, I would have been proud of them,” Miller says. “Their performance showed the community what our students are capable of accomplishing. Even the Rutgers staff was impressed with them. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”

Photo: NJC4 participants are recognized by the CCM Board of Trustees. Pictured (l-r) are CCM President Anthony J. Iacono; Professor Susan Miller; Ethan Madera, of Mt. Olive; Kayla Lalji, of Wharton; Moe Rahmatullah, of Parsippany; Devin Gribbon, of Roxbury; Mark Lalo, of Parsippany; and Dr. Joseph L. Ricca, trustee chair.