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SUNY Potsdam Business Administration Students Compete in Global Business Ethics Event

May 5, 2023

Six Students Present Business Ethics Arguments at the International Business Ethics Case Competition

Six students from SUNY Potsdam’s Department of Business Administration recently made virtual presentations to judges in the International Business Ethics Case Competition, during a two day competition, held on April 20 and 21. The competition was the culmination of several weeks of intensive research, team meetings, practices, and full-dress rehearsals to get ready to compete against colleges and universities from the U.S., Canada, Iran, and Russia.

“The students were randomly formed into two teams early in the Spring 2023 semester and worked hard and furiously to select an interesting business ethics quandary and prepare for the competition,” said Professor Dr. Edwin J. Portugal, who served as the faculty advisor.

The two teams, consisting of students from Portugal’s Ethical Issues in Business course, included:

  • Maycee Ward ’24 of Norfolk, N.Y. 
  • Tanner Armstrong ’23 of Heuvelton, N.Y.
  • Zion Smalls ’23 of Harlem, N.Y.
  • Brian Pod ’23 of Oceanside, N.Y.
  • Caitlin Fields ’24 of Massena, N.Y.
  • Teddy Morey ’25 of Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

From left, Brian Pod ’23, Caitlin Fields ’24, and Teddy Morey ’23 pose for a portrait in the Academic Quad following the competition.

From left, Maycee Ward ’24, Zion Smalls ’23 and Tanner Armstrong ’23 pose for a portrait in the Academic Quad following the competition.

Students from 19 colleges competed including teams from Fordham University, West Point Academy, U Mass at Amherst, Penn State University, California State University at Northridge, Oxford University in the United Kingdom, Ranepa University in St. Petersburg, Sharif University in Tehran, University of Manitoba, and Concordia University in Montreal.

The SUNY Potsdam teams did not win the top honors but were delighted to have participated at a high level with other students from around the world. “We'd like to congratulate all the teams who participated in this year's International Business Ethics Case Competition. This was an especially competitive event, and the judges gave high praise to all the teams,” said Dr. Thomas White, founder and executive director of the International Business Ethics Case Competition (IBECC).

“All of us across the School of Education and Professional Studies and SUNY Potsdam are very proud of our students for competing in the International Business Ethics Case Competition.  While there were some impressive schools that they competed against, none are more impressive than our own,” said Dr. Allen Grant, dean of the School of Education and Professional Studies.

After the competition, the students were able to look back and assess their performance. “Preparation for the competition was challenging, but the hardest part was when a member did not show up for the rehearsals and actual competition. It was tough for all of us, but it gave us a life lesson that in a crisis situation, we must act professionally and face what life throws at us at any given moment in a work environment,” said Brian Pod, the manager of Team Creative Consulting.

“For my team, the most challenging aspect was the nerves leading up to the competition. My team thoroughly prepared our material and wholeheartedly felt confident, but competing against schools from all over the globe is something none of us have ever done before,” said Maycee Ward, manager of Team Leaders to Be. “Learning about other ethical issues presented by the other colleges was cool to listen to and gave us a much broader view of the complexity of business ethics.”

“The competition included many impressive and astonishing schools, which was intimidating for a small SUNY college that was unknown to most of the large universities in the competition. This was a reason enough to be nervous, but also a reason to make us proud to represent SUNY Potsdam,” said Ward.

“We are extremely grateful to have been given this opportunity to reflect our knowledge to the judges. Given that this was an international competition, judges and participants were very diverse. It was exceptionally fascinating to meet all the individuals from different parts of the world and to learn a little part of their background,” added Ward.

Illiana Wong, who graduated in 2019 from SUNY Potsdam with a degree in business administration and earned a master’s degree in international business at the IESEG School of Management in Paris, France, provided mentorship. “Illiana is extremely busy at her job as a marketing strategy project manager at Syracuse University, but generously found time to provide insight and perspective to the two teams during their preparation, practice, and full-dress rehearsals,” said Professor Portugal. 

“To me, the most memorable part of the competition was listening to different feedback from different judges. The competition has increased my confidence and reminded me that different types of work ethics are not shunned but rather respected. One word of advice to underclassmen would be to take more rigorous courses to gain confidence, improve public speaking skills, and accept constructive criticisms to prepare for future work,” said Ward.

SUNY Potsdam’s Department of Business Administration offers flexible bachelor’s and master’s degrees in competitive fields, and provides students with an understanding of how for-profit and non-profit organizations function efficiently and effectively in the global marketplace. The College offers its undergraduate business administration program both at the Potsdam campus and in Watertown, N.Y., at Jefferson Community College. Its Master of Science program in management is offered 100 percent online, to serve graduate students around the world. For more information, visit

About SUNY Potsdam:
Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges—and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit

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