Earlier this month, a team of students from the University of New Mexico Anderson School of Management won second place at the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Case Competition in Denver, Colorado.

The Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative collegiate program was established in 2009. It includes 10 different business schools from across New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

According to the Daniels Fund website, the purpose of the ethics initiative is to “deliver principle-based ethics education and reinforce the value of ethical business and personal conduct.”



In the competition, students are given a company facing major ethical and/or structural issues. The students must act as a consulting firm and give recommendations based on the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Principles. These principles include integrity, trust, accountability, transparency, fairness, respect, viability and the rule of law, according to the website.

Student Sofia Lucero was part of the UNM team. She said, the case given to the UNM team was the pseudo-company Healthy Kids Playground Equipment. The students had a month to prepare their case and then traveled to Denver to present to a panel of judges.

After giving their recommendations, students were given the second part of the case in which something went wrong, she said. The team had to work together to analyze problems, present solutions and respond to questions from the judging panel.

Lucero was one of six students who traveled to Denver to represent the Anderson School of Management. Her teammates included John Algermissen, Kelly Allred, Colin MacCosbe, Anand Macherla and Julianne Sanchez. They were led by Professors John Reed and Harry Van Buren.

Macherla said the competition challenges students to consider the complications of ethical business leadership and equips them to deal with some of these issues, should they encounter them in their future business careers.

Lucero said UNM hosts a similar ethics competition in the Fall semester, which helped the team practice for the regional one in the Spring. She added that the competition was nerve-racking for her, but all the team’s preparation helped her feel a little more confident.

“I was nervous and stressed going into the competition,” Lucero said. “But it was so fulfilling, and I enjoyed every second of it.”

The UNM team placed second overall in the case competition, beating out eight other schools and coming up just short of the University of Utah. Lucero said the team was overjoyed by how well they did, adding that even placing in the competition is a very prestigious accomplishment.

According to Lucero, placing was not the only good part of the competition. She said she developed great relationships with her teammates and professors along the way.

“Nothing will beat how proud Dr. Van Buren looked when our name was announced,” Lucero said.

She added that the majority of this year’s team was seniors, so next year will be a rebuilding year for the UNM team, but Lucero says she is looking forward to it and she wants to keep competing year after year.

“It will be interesting to see how we grow,” Lucero said. “I’m excited to welcome new team members and have them hopefully love it as much as I do.”

Catherine Stringam is a freelance reporter with the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at news@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @cathey_stringam.