Spring Break was off to a winning start for the three members of the College of Business Administration’s Information Systems Management team — they took second place in one of four tracks in the Association for Information Systems (AIS) Student Chapter Conference and Competition in Tempe, Ariz.
Finalists from 28 schools across the U.S. and elsewhere were invited to participate onsite in this international competition after successfully completing an earlier virtual competition round. The student teams presented their cases, developed during the virtual round, to a panel of corporate and academic judges.
UA’s team of Sean Blasko Johnny Gless and Mark Mast took second place in the Information Technology Service Management Track. The three competed against teams from Temple University, which placed first, and Villanova University, which placed third, along with Georgia State University and the University of Michigan – Dearborn.
The focus of the competition was analyzing a case study for a health care company that was experiencing a number of problems in its Information Technology area, explains Blasko, an honors computer science and information systems management major. “We had to address each of these problems from a management prospective, folding in our studies, experiences and ideas about different products, and provide a plan of action to get the company back on track.”
Such issues are very real world, and that makes the competition experience all the more valuable, adds Blasko, who will be interning at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company this summer while he finishes his classwork prior to graduating in August.
“We were charged with researching real world topics and concerns and had to develop solutions,” says Blasko. “Such is the task of IT managers, whether they are inside a business examining existing processes, or acting as a consultant. I currently work in the area of consulting and a number of the lessons learned from this research are already helping me implement solutions for my personal customers. I really could not think of a better experience for a group of IT students.”
That’s gratifying to hear for Dr. William McHenry to hear. The associate professor of management is the team’s advisor.
“Competitions like this show that our CS and IS majors are much stronger than many realize — they beat out teams from highly acclaimed programs,” notes McHenry.
The Association for Information Systems, founded in 1994, is a professional organization that “serves as the premier global organization for academics, students and professionals specializing in information systems.
Seen here being congratulated by a State Farm Insurance representative are, from left, Information Systems Management team members Johnny Gless, Mark Mast and Sean Blasko." Photo by W. Scott Mitchell Photography LLC.