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The Lancaster students from the MSc Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Practice cohort competed at the 5th annual Family Enterprise Case Competition (FECC) at the University of Vermont, USA.
The team included Linda Jabesh, Rogan Devlin and Loukas Dimitriou, and they were coached by Dr Josip Kotlar, Co-Director of the Centre for Family Business (CFB), and Dr Joe Horak, Entrepreneur in Residence at LUMS and member of the CFB Business Advisory panel.
The FECC is the global intercollegiate competitive event, focused preparing undergraduate and graduate students to understand the critical issues that are unique to family enterprise by applying the knowledge and expertise they have developed in the classroom towards solving complex family business cases. The FECC received wide-spread acclaim and praise within the community of family business leaders and researchers. In the first five years, 356 participants have joined the competition, representing 42 different schools from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and Latin America.
During four time-capped rounds, 16 undergraduate and 8 graduate teams from around the world analyse and present their case to a panel of judges, followed by a Q&A session. The judging panel included academics, consulting professionals, and family business owners.
The LUMS team competed in the graduate division along with other leading Schools including ESADE, HEC Montreal and University of Manitoba. Due to a delay in the team’s travel to the US, they were not able to be present for the first round of the competition, but the students’ creativity saved them from missing the competition. They managed to compete through pre-recording the presentation and calling in for the Q&A whilst in transit at Philadelphia International Airport. This allowed the team to participate and earn one point in the first round.
Once they arrived, the team demonstrated immediately its competences and competitiveness, winning the second round and placing them in second position in their group, giving them a fighting chance to compete for the finals. Following a tough third round, LUMS missed out on the finals by a small margin. However, the LUMS team performed brilliantly, with Rogan Devlin receiving the Best Graduate Presenter award, and Linda Jabesh receiving a medal for winning the Graduate Collaboration Case.
According to Dr Josip Kotlar: “The FECC competition is an exceptional opportunity for our students to learn more and test their knowledge and skills in solving complex business issues. During the competition, they learn how to address complex family business issues and develop innovative solutions, while learning from the feedback received from professional family business leaders and interactions with a network of friends and colleagues from around the world. LUMS has been represented at the FECC competition for the second time this year. I couldn’t be more proud of our students who, once again, demonstrated the excellence of Lancaster University Management School in the field of family business management education.”
The students themselves enjoyed taking part in the competition and described it as a highly rewarding experience.
Loukas Dimitriou said: “This was truly an amazing involvement. Getting the opportunity to apply theory into practice, whilst meeting people from all around the globe, has been highly rewarding. Can’t wait for next year’s team to win it!”
Linda Jabesh said that the competition had helped her to expand her theoretical knowledge, as well as letting her “have a better understanding of family businesses and provide realistic solutions…that can be attainable in the real world. Thank you again to Dr J. Kotlar, LUMS and Tony Vernon Foundation for this incredible opportunity.”
Rogan Devlin said: “FECC has been one of the most fulfilling experiences I’ve had throughout my time at Lancaster University. The opportunity to apply the theory I’ve learned in the classroom into a real-world situation was both challenging and exciting. Furthermore, the networking opportunities at this event were amazing, and I’ve made new connections that may prove to be beneficial in my future career. I’d like to place on record my thanks to Dr J. Kotlar for organising our participation in this event, in addition to the wider LUMS family for facilitating our adventure (in particular to the Tony Vernon Foundation).”
The LUMS team’s participation to FECC was sponsored by the Department of Entrepreneurship, Strategy and Innovation, by the Centre for Family Business, and benefited from the generous financial support provided by the Tony Vernon Foundation.