The 2017 team of USC Marshall undergraduate students, The Legendary Trojans, advanced into the final round at the 6th annual National Diversity Case Competition, hosted by the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. USC Marshall began participating in this national competition in 2015, and since then has been the only school to advance into the finals three years in a row.
“Our students have impressed a series of judges, year after year, to advance to an elite final round of seven schools, due to their incredible presentation skills and innovative ideas.” said Debra Langford, assistant dean for diversity and inclusion.
The National Diversity Case Competition (NDCC) invites students from 35 universities and colleges across the country. The event, held annually over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend includes a networking reception and dinner with representatives from Fortune 500 corporations, workshops and a luncheon with peer schools. Sponsoring corporations, including Target, EY, Whirlpool, Nielsen, Ford, PwC, Discover and Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, use the competition to network and recruit students.
This year’s team includes Austin Lam '17, Sachin Sadana '18, Solomon Abdella '18 and Landon Harris'19.
“Every year the cases get more and more complex,” said Austin Lam, the only senior on the team, and a three-year veteran of the NDCC. “I’m so proud that the judges have recognized the USC teams for our proposals year after year. However, at the end of the day, it's not about the competition—it's about students proposing solutions to create a more diverse and inclusive world. And in that sense I'm honored to have been a part of that effort, no matter how we placed in the competition.”
Lam has been hired by PwC. “The skills I took away from these case competitions definitely helped me stand out,” he said.
Team members pointed to the resources available to them as USC Marshall students that led directly to their successful showing.
“Our faculty adviser, Debra, was instrumental in connecting us with professionals who provided great industry insight from the manufacturing and retail sectors,” said Abdella. “She also provided incredible guidance throughout the entire process from logistics to strategy."