NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University Rusche College of Business graduate students in the Society for Advancement of Management recently placed first in the graduate division during the annual Council for Advancement and Support of Education competition held in Orlando, Florida. SFA’s undergraduate team finished third in its division.

The first-place graduate team comprised Jennifer Nicely, Robyn Davis and Lauren Rose, who are all accounting majors enrolled in SFA’s Master of Professional Accountancy program. Nicely also received Outstanding Regional SAM Student, as well as National Outstanding SAM Student.

“Our team comprised all accounting majors, which I feel the judges don't see often in competition,” Nicely said. “Because of this, we had a strong analysis, as well as financial backing, which really supported our answer to the case. The judges were very impressed by this fact.”

The third-place undergraduate team comprised four seniors: Corey Johnson, marketing major; Derek Orlando, management major; Juliana Romero, human resources management major; and Kimberli Scott, marketing major. Romero and Johnathan Kelly, senior management major, also received the Outstanding Regional SAM Student award.

“The SAM competition gave me an extra experience at SFA, and now I feel a lot better about being able to participate in something and make a difference for an SFA organization,” Scott said.

During the conference, schools from across the country competed for their competitive papers, abstracts or cases to be regionally and nationally recognized. The CASE competition requires chapters to send teams to compete and present a selected case and the team’s recommended solution before judges.

“For SFA to have two teams able to attend and win an award in each category is outstanding. I’m very proud of our students,” said Dr. Gina Harden, faculty advisor.

SFA also placed first in the large division for its SAM organization activity throughout the year. This award recognizes activities such as bimonthly meetings for members, field trips to local businesses, guest speakers, fundraising, and social and volunteer events.

SAM seeks to provide an opportunity for members to increase their management skills and expertise through participation programs and services designed to improve the professional quality of their knowledge, performance and leadership ability.