Michael Smith Ethics Case Competition

Michael Smith Ethics Case Competition First-Place Team

Click Here to Register for the 2018 Michael Smith Ethics Case Competition!

The Ethics in Business Education Program is pleased to announce the Michael Smith Ethics Case Competition to be held at Providence College this academic year. The competition is scheduled for Wednesday, January 31, 2018, in the Ryan Center, followed by the finals on Saturday, February 3. The competition will provide students with an opportunity to examine a current business issue, apply ethical decision-making skills and knowledge to the challenge, and recommend a course of action for the organization. This is a team-based competition with four member teams competing for a first place prize of $2,000 to be divided among the team members.

About Michael Smith

Michael T. Smith ’65 is the retired chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Hughes Electronics Corp., which he served from 1985 to 2001. While with Hughes, he served as chairman of Hughes Aircraft Company and of Hughes Missile Systems Company, and was vice chairman of Hughes Electronics.

Mr. Smith helped transform Hughes, which at one time was an anchor of Southern California’s military industry, into a technology powerhouse and the third-largest provider of pay television in the United States. Hughes’ best-known venture was DirecTV.

Mr. Smith joined Hughes after 17 years at General Motors, first with the accounting department and then with the finance team. He worked for GM in the U.S. and Spain before returning to Detroit in 1982 as the corporation’s assistant controller.

A native of Worcester, Mass., and a U.S. Army veteran, he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Providence College and an MBA from Babson College. He also holds an honorary doctor of laws degree from Pepperdine University. A former member of PC’s Board of Trustees and the PC School of Business Advisory Board, Mr. Smith is a director at Teledyne Technologies, FLIR Systems, Inc., WABCO Holdings, Inc., and Zero Gravity Solutions, Inc. He is married to Jane E. Smith.

Michael Smith Ethics Case Competition Requirements


All Providence College undergraduate students are eligible for this case competition.

Team Composition and Registration:

Teams are to be comprised of four members. Each team identifies a captain, and this competition is limited to 20 teams that will be registered on a first come, first served basis. Teams are permitted and encouraged to select a faculty advisor, who may provide feedback as they develop their case presentation. Team registration will open on Wednesday, November 1, and the deadline to register is Friday, December 1.

2017-2018 Competition Details:

The case will be distributed at 9 a.m. on Friday, January 19. The semifinal round of student presentations will take place from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, January 31. The semifinal round consists of a 15-minute PowerPoint presentation with cited information sources, followed by five minutes of questions from a panel of faculty and alumni judges. All team members must participate in the team presentation. Based on judge evaluations of team performance, five teams advance to the Final Round.

Final round presentations will be held on Saturday, February 3, with the similar rules as for the semifinal round, except for a longer question and answer period (a 15-minute PowerPoint presentation, followed by 10 minutes of questions from the judges). After a champion is crowned, all of the final round teams will be invited to attend the Friars Basketball game against Georgetown on Tuesday, February 6.

Evaluation criteria: 

Submissions will be evaluated on the creativity, practicality, and persuasiveness of the recommendations.


First-place team:

The first place team will earn $2,000, to be shared evenly among the team of four students. If possible, the team will also represent the college in the Annual Collegiate Ethics Case Competition at the Eller College of Management, The University of Arizona, scheduled for Fall 2018.

Second-place team:

The second place team will earn $1,000, to be shared evenly among the team of four students.

2017 Michael Smith Ethics Case Competition

The 2017 Michael Smith Ethics Case Competition, held at Providence College, addressed the ethical issues associated with driverless automobiles. Nineteen teams of four students competed in the semi-final round on Thursday, February 16, in the Ryan Center. Twelve judges from six academic departments, student affairs, and Fidelity Investments evaluated 15-minute student presentations and decided on the four teams that advanced to the final round of the competition, held on Saturday, February 25. Dean Sylvia Maxfield, Philosophy Professor Timothy Mahoney, and Elizabeth Jennes ’14 served as judges for the final round of the competition.

The following were the winning teams.

First-Place Team:

Michael Cruz ’19, Matthew Gould ’19, Mitchell Pitkin ’19, and Allison Post ’19

Second-Place Team:

Shawn Carlson ’18, Nicholas Coassin ’18, Allan Cuttle ’18, and Ryan Del Monaco ’18

Michael Smith Ethics Case Competition Second-Place Team

The first place team was awarded $2,000 and the second place team was awarded $1,000. All of the finalist teams attended the Men’s Basketball game vs Marquette University (a Friar Win!) after the competition finals on February 25.


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