For the past 13 years, Clayton State University business students have been empowered by their participation in the annual Society for Advancement of Management’s (SAM) annual student business case competition.
The current year has been no exception, as, for the fourth straight year, Clayton State’s SAM chapter finished in the top two teams in their division of the national competition, finishing ahead of chapters from such a diverse group of universities as Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Wright State University (Ohio) and Rowan University (New Jersey).
For 2014, the Clayton State SAM chapter placed second for the competition for the James Rutherford Trophy (undergraduate division) at the SAM competition in Orlando, Fla. This follows the ClaytonState chapter finishing first in 2011 and 2012, and second in 2013.
“We have been consistently one of the high-performing teams in the SAM case competition in the 13 years that we have participated in this business competition,” exclaims chapter advisor and Associate Professor of Economics Dr. Reza Kheirandish.
The 2014 SAM travelling team consisted of four students: Rachel Mannor, Katelyn Curtis, Sarita Brayboy and Chris Jeboda. In addition, Carmen Williams was a member of the team who could not travel to Orlando, but who helped the team prepare their case.
“The team worked very hard during the past two months and developed financial and SWOT analysis and suggested recommendations for JC Penney,” explains Kheirandish. “The judges were impressed by our team’s performance. I am very proud of this team especially because the difference between the first and the last team is not very much.”
Mannor, Curtis and Williams have also received the SAM Outstanding Student Regional Award based on Kheirandish’s nomination and their resumes and GPAs.
“I would also like to acknowledge the leadership of our previous faculty advisors, Dr. Michael Deis and Dr. Lari Arjomand,” says Kheirandish . “As the current faculty advisor I also want to thank my colleagues in the College of Business at ClaytonState for encouraging their most talented students to participate in SAM case competition team and their words of encouragement for me throughout the past few years.”
Williams was born in Atlanta and currently resides in McDonough. A senior general business major with minors in Supply Chain Management and Spanish, in addition to her participation in SAM, she is also a member of Clayton State Internet Radio and the University Hearing Panel, and currently works for the student computer help desk, the HUB on the Clayton State campus.
The current president of the Clayton State SAM chapter, Curtis is a native of Lebanon, Ind., who anticipates graduating in May 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing with a concentration in Supply Chain Management. She is a member of two national honor societies, Alpha Lambda Delta and Phi Eta Sigma, as well as Delta Sigma Pi, a national business fraternity. Currently residing in Peachtree City, Curtis volunteers with the Freedom Foundation where she supports with marketing, inventory management, Alternative Break programs, and their flagship program, Random Acts of Theatre Company.
The vice president of the Clayton State SAM chapter, Mannor grew up in Chicago, and now resides in Fayetteville. She is working towards her Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting, and is planning on graduating in the spring of 2015. A member of the Clayton State Accounting Club and the Georgia Society of CPAs, her goal is to obtain her MBA and CPA certification after graduation.
Jeboda is an international student, coming to Clayton State from London. He is pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management. His interests include, but aren’t limited to; soccer, technology, finance, traveling, music, movies, and general knowledge. He is currently serving as the treasurer of Clayton State’s Honor Student Association, the treasurer for Clayton State’s SAM Chapter, and the student manager for Clayton State’s Course Hero program. He plans on one day becoming the CFO of a prominent technology firm.
Brayboy is majoring in business management with a minor in marketing, and already holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Georgia. Along with participating in the SAM case competition, she is also involved in empowering her fellow ClaytonState students as a mentor in the College of Business’ Major Mentor Program. Her past employment experiences include Sprint Nextel Corporation and AFB&T, a division of Synovus Bank. She is a native of Atlanta, and currently resides in Ellenwood.
Last year’s second place SAM competition team, which produced a case study of Netflix, consisted of four different Clayton State students, including two non-traditional students and an international student; Azadeh Aarabi-Taft, Henrick Drummond, Martha Mobley and Rodrecus Hughes.
Aarabi-Taft was born in Tehran, finished her high school education in Iran, and moved to the United States in February 2011. She started her college education at Gordon College and transferred to Clayton State University in fall of 2012 as a pre-business major. She expects to receive her degree in Accounting by the summer of 2014.
Drummond was 25 years old during last year’s SAM competition. Another Accounting major, he has done his own work empowering his fellow students at ClaytonState as an accounting tutor. He is also very involved with student activities at Clayton State, having served as president of the Accounting Club, treasurer for SAM, and as another mentor for Major Mentors. He was recognized as a national outstanding student at the 2013 SAM conference.
Another non-traditional senior Accounting major prior to his May 2013 graduation, Hughes was born in Millen, Ga., in 1986 and now resides in Jonesboro. Last year’s SAM president and a member of the Accounting Club, he previously served in the U.S. Army for four years as a combat medic, completing a 12-month tour in Iraq.
Another May 2013 graduate, Mobley now has a Bachelors degree in Business Administration (majoring in marketing) from Clayton State. While a student at Clayton State, she revived the school’s marketing club, joined SAM as the chapter vice president and joined the Major Mentor Program. She also individually received the SAM regional award for being an outstanding student, and Clayto State honored her as the Outstanding Graduate of the Year in Marketing and the Service and Leadership Award in Marketing.