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WMU students win national case study competition

by Mark Schwerin

May 2, 2011 | WMU News

Photo of WMU students Tharyn Taylor, George Sesi, Hugo Martinez Rodriguez and Travis Ross.
From left: Tharyn Taylor, George Sesi, Hugo Martinez Rodriguez and Travis Ross
KALAMAZOO--Three Western Michigan University students won a national case study competition for the second consecutive year, and WMU received the 2011 Program Excellence award for its Telecommunications and Information Management Program.

Competing against teams of graduate students, the WMU contingent competed in the International Telecommunications Education and Research Association National Case Study Competition. The final round of the competition and public presentations were held during ITERA's ninth annual Conference on Telecommunications and Information Technology April 8-10 in Indianapolis.

This is the second year in a row that WMU has won the case study award. In the final round this year, WMU faced teams from Ball State University, James Madison University and Murray State University. There were 22 teams in the competition.

Team members, along with their major and hometown, include:

Tharyn Taylor, a TIM major, from Mason, Mich., presented a research paper at the conference.

Each year, the 22 schools that make up ITERA are invited to develop a proposal to solve a business or technical information technology problem. This year, the problem was to design a solution for providing communications and IT services for a retirement community in Arizona.

The final round involved a 25-minute student presentation in front of a group of judges from both industry and academics. The presentation consisted of three parts: business plan, technical solution and financial analysis. In addition to the presentation, students answered tough business and technical questions while still completing their presentation in the allotted time frame.

In addition to WMU students winning top honors, the University's TIM Program received a Program of Excellence Award for undergraduate education in the field of information technology management.

"We are so honored to receive this year's Program Excellence Award," says Dr. Mike Tarn, chair, Department of Business Information Systems. "It is very encouraging and meaningful for our relatively young undergraduate TIM program compared with those traditionally strong programs in some well-known universities, which shows evidence of the quality, creativity and versatility of WMU's excellent and unique interdisciplinary telecommunications and information technology management education."

WMU's telecommunications and information management major is designed to train students in a variety of telecommunication and data communication sub-disciplines. Its mission is to give students a well-balanced education in a variety of business- and technical-management issues.

The program is offered through the Department of Business Information Systems in the Haworth College of Business and the School of Communication in the College of Arts and Sciences. It is co-directed by Dr. Pairin Katerattanakul, associate professor of business information systems, and Dr. Rick Gershon, professor of communication.

For more information, contact Valorie Juergens, Haworth College of Business, at or (269) 387-5964.