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Rabbits, Fur and Ethics -- Oh My!

A SUNY Plattsburgh team placed second in the St. Michael’s Business Ethics Case Competition held earlier this month.

The team, consisting of Ethan Bicskei, Benjamin Depo and Alexander Pierce, finished behind only St. Michael’s, beating Champlain College and New England College, which tied for third.

The trio said they had had a long way to go before they could earn their second-place prize.

According to Depo, the case they were assigned came from a real, past conflict between fashion house Donna Karan New York and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The problem was that PETA did not want DKNY to kill animals for its products. The team had to state the problems of the case and make suggestions for how the case could be solved.

According to the judging sheet for the competition, the written analysis was evaluated based on the team’s understanding of the multiple social, ethical and business issues that DKNY was facing, the logic of their suggestions and the overall organization of their paper.

In order to go to the St. Michael’s competition, the team had place first in the Plattsburgh division, which it did, winning $150 for its effort.

Team members then had two weeks to prepare a 20-minute oral presentation using PowerPoint. According to Depo, the team prepared by making its slides as sharp as possible and practicing the presentation of the case.

The team then traveled to the St. Michael’s event in Colchester, Vt., with Dr. Nancy Church, department of marketing and entrepreneurship chair, and Accounting Department Chair Dr. Mohamed Gaber. There they gave their presentation and answered questions from the judges for 10 minutes.

When they learned they placed second, the team was actually disappointed, Depo said, adding that they had, of course, hoped to win and thought that their presentation was worthy of first place. Still, Depo went on to say, that the first-place team also had an excellent presentation.

“We hope to potentially take another crack at it next year,” Depo said.

“You have no idea how many hours they put into it,” Church said.

Depo said that although the case cut into time usually spent on academics, the team enjoyed working on the project.

“The experience that comes with preparing and presenting a project of this magnitude is always valuable,” Depo said.

“We always send a good team,” Church said.

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