Past Competitions

2021 Michael Smith Business Ethics Case Competition

The 2021 Michael Smith Business Ethics Case Competition was held virtually on November 6, 2021. “Last year the Covid pandemic required us to move our ethics case competition online,” noted Dr. Patrick T. Kelly, director of the Providence College Ethics in Business Education Program. “We discovered, though, that hosting the competition online allows for broader participation and the opportunity to grow the program beyond the region.”

This year’s case focused on Amazon’s human resource management policies and practices, which have been widely criticized in recent years. Teams examined the ethical and operational issues identified in the case and provided recommended solutions. Students were required to incorporate at least three ethical theories and could address the following:  virtue ethics, deontology, utilitarianism, justice, and Catholic social teaching.

Dr. Sylvia Maxfield, dean of the PC School of Business, presented the prizes to the winning teams. Congratulations to the first-place team from the University of Toronto Mississauga, who took home the first-place trophy and $2,400 prize, and to the Providence College team, who placed second and won a $1,200 award. Many thanks to all participating teams. The judges enjoyed the lively presentations and insightful recommendations from all teams!

The next Michael Smith Business Ethics Case Competition will be held in spring 2023.

Photo of students on the first-place winner of the 2021 Michael Smith Business Ethics Case Competition
First Place Team from the University of Toronto Mississauga
(Top Row): Dr. Patrick Kelly, Director, PC Ethics in Business Education Program; Dr. Sylvia Maxfield, Dean, PC School of Business
(Middle Row) Aoun Hafeez, Hamza Bin Waheed, Bharathi Srinivasan
(Bottom Row) Nguyen Minh Chau Luong
Photo of the second place team of the 2021 Michael Smith Business Ethics Case Competition
Second Place Team from Providence College
(Top Row) Dr. Patrick Kelly, Director, PC Ethics in Business Education Program; Dr. Sylvia Maxfield, Dean, PC School of Business
(Middle Row) Olivia Esper; Soleil Corvelo, Morgan Valente
(Bottom Row) Dr. Julia Camp, Team Advisor

2021 PC Business Ethics Case Competition

This year’s PC Business Ethics Case Competition was held virtually on Saturday, March 19. The case study concerned the problem of foul ball spectator injuries at Major League Baseball games and how to make the stadiums safer. For the challenge, the teams assumed that they were hired by MLB to propose an ethical response to foul balls that have injured fans in the stands. As the case explained, the MLB has tackled this issue over the years, and baseball stadiums have tried several different solutions to make spectators safer. Each team presented three ethical issues in their proposals which included questions about ticket disclaimers about incidents, protective netting, the impact of foul ball related injuries, and more.

The teams were judged by Bob Driscoll, vice president and director of athletics at PC, Jacqueline Elcik, Ph.D., senior associate dean of the PCSB, Brad Gordon, senior vice president, chief general counsel, secretary, and chief ethics officer of Gilbane Construction, and Sean Reid, Ph.D., PC provost and senior vice president of academic affairs.

The first place prize was awarded to Soleil Corvelo ’22, an accountancy major; Matthew Keane ’22, accountancy major; Matthew Michaels ’22, a finance major, and Michael Seelagy ’22, an accountancy major. 

2020 Michael Smith Regional Ethics Case Competition

On November 7, Providence College hosted the Michael Smith Regional Ethics Case Competition. The competition was held virtually, due to COVID-19 safety considerations. Along with the case competition, the Ethics in Business Education Program offered the Teaching Business Ethics – Best Practices workshop for faculty interested in developing their teaching of business ethics. The workshop’s keynote speaker was Dr. Mary C. Gentile of the University of Virginia, author of Giving Voice to Values: How to Speak Your Mind When You Know What’s Right. Faculty participants were also invited to view the final round of the case competition at the conclusion of the workshop.

At this year’s Michael Smith Regional Ethics Case Competition, eight teams, each comprised of three to four members, participated. They included teams from Boston College, Fairfield University, La Salle University, Mount Wachusett Community College, Providence College, University of Massachusetts, Lowell, University of Toronto Mississauga, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The teams competed for a first-place prize of $2,400 and a $1,200 second place award, but everyone gained valuable experience.

The topic of the competition centered around contact tracing and technical solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic. The teams presented to a panel of nine judges, whose backgrounds ranged from internal medicine to real estate and marketing. One judge even had experience helping Rhode Island create its contract tracing app.

This year’s first place award was presented to the team from University of Toronto Mississauga. Boston College was awarded second place. Congratulations!

The first-place team from University of Toronto Mississauga, shown with Ethics in Business Education Program director Patrick Kelly, Ph.D., PC provost Sean Reid, Ph.D., and School of Business dean, Sylvia Maxfield, Ph.D., included:

  • (Left) Deepti Sanwalka, senior, management major & sociology minor
  • (Center) Kirari Sasaki, senior, accountancy major & economics minor
  • (Right Center) Raunaq Rohile, junior, finance major & economics minor

This team was advised by Dr. Rafael Chiuzi, assistant professor of management at the University of Toronto Mississauga.

2019 Providence College Business Ethics Case Competition

In October 2019 the Providence College Business Ethics Case Competition was held to identify the team that would represent the college at the Michael Smith Regional Ethics Case Competition in the spring. Ten teams of three to four students competed for the chance to participate in the regional competition as well as first and second place cash prizes of $1,200 and $600, respectively. The semi-final round of the fall competition was held on Wednesday, November 6 and the final round was held on Friday, November 8.

 The topic of the case examined whether the company should help pay its employees’ student loans. While this topic may look clear-cut to undergraduate students initially, various questions, such as the risk of alienating employees who would not benefit from student repayment, complicated the analysis.  Since this case was an ethics one, teams were recommended to address, in addition to the business elements, one or more of the following: Virtue Ethics, Deontology (right of individuals and the duties associated with these rights), Utilitarianism, Justice (procedural, distributive, compensatory, and retributive), and Catholic Social Teaching.

The winning teams of the 2019 PC Business Ethics Case Competition are:

First Place: Daniel Bonner ‘20, Alec DiCiaccio ‘20, Shawn Mcdermott ‘20, Nathan Perez ‘20

Second Place: Tom Arbeiter ‘21, McGrath Bissaillon ‘20, Doug DeGolyer ‘20

Congratulations to all and best wishes to our first place finalists as they advance to the Michael Smith Regional Ethics Case Competition in the spring!

The 2019 PC Business Ethics Case Competition first place finalists

2019 Michael Smith Regional Ethics Case Competition

On April 6, the PCSB hosted the 2019 Michael Smith Regional Ethics Case Competition. In the past, the competition has been restricted to teams from Providence College. However, this year, the PCSB allowed teams from higher education institutions from across the northeast to participate. Teams from Johnson & Wales University, LaSalle University, Simmons University, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute joined PC in taking part.

For the competition, teams of three to four members analyzed a business ethics case over a two-week period before presenting a solution to a panel of judges. Teams were asked to analyze the opioid crisis from an ethical standpoint and make recommendations to the U.S. Congress on actions that might be taken to improve the situation.

Congratulations to LaSalle University, which placed first in the competition, and Johnson & Wales University, which came in second!

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2018 Michael Smith Ethics Case Competition

4 male students wearing suits posed in the Ryan Center.
Left to Right: Thomas Kelly ’20, Zach Aldieri ’20, Jack Cassidy ’20, Kerry Crepeau ’20

The 2018 Michael Smith Ethics Case Competition addressed the National Football League’s response to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Thirteen teams of four students competed in the semi-final round on Wednesday, January 31, in the Ryan Center. Twelve alumni and faculty judges evaluated 15-minute student presentations followed by a brief question and answer session. They selected the four teams that advanced to the final round of the competition, held on Saturday, February 3. Providence College Senior Vice President/Chief Financial Officer John Sweeney, Philosophy Professor Timothy Mahoney, and Providence College Team Physician Dr. Mark Rosenberg served as judges for the final round of the competition.

The following were the winning teams.

First-Place Team:

Kerry Crepeau ’20, Thomas Kelly ’20, Zachary Aldieri ’20, and Jack Cassidy ’20; Finance Professor Marcin Krolikowski served as Team Advisor

Second-Place Team:

Nathan Perez ’20, Alec DiCiaccio ’20, Daniel Bonner ’20, and Shawn McDermott ’20; Father Bonaventure Chapman served as Team Advisor

Left to Right: Daniel Bonner ’20, Alex DiCiaccio ’20, Fr. Bonaventure Chapman, Nathan Perez ’20, Shawn McDermott ’20

Michael Smith Ethics Case Competition Requirements

Eligibility: 

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

Team Composition and Registration:

Teams were comprised of four members. Each team identified a captain, and the competition was limited to 20 teams that were registered on a first come, first served basis. There were 13 teams in total that competed. Teams were permitted and encouraged to select a faculty advisor, who provided feedback as they developed their case presentation. Team registration opened on Wednesday, November 1, and the deadline to register was Friday, January 12.

2017-2018 Competition Details:

The case was distributed at 9 a.m. on Friday, January 19. The semifinal round of student presentations took place from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, January 31. The semifinal round consisted 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 were required to participate in the team presentation. Based on judge evaluations of team performance, four teams advanced to the Final Round.

Final round presentations were 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 the champion was crowned, all of the final round teams were invited to attend the Friars Basketball game against Georgetown on Tuesday, February 6.

Evaluation criteria: 

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

Prizes:

First-place team:

The first place team earned $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 earned $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.

Read the full story here!