Through the success of Zoltan Kocsis, the College of Business has gained another accolade. The spring graduate placed first in the Business Strategy Game’s Best-Strategy Invitationalunder the designation of team “Gamma Z,” competing as one of 97 single- and multi-member teams from across the world in a two-week competition.
But unlike most of his competitors, the 35-year-old International Business major did it alone.
Students in SPC’s College of Business capstone course must compete in 12 three-person teams, in a simulation in which each team manages an athletic footwear company. The winning team – in this case, Gamma Z – then is invited to participate in The Business Strategy Game’s international competition. The intensive, two-week online competition is a larger-scale version of the high-end strategy simulation that has been used by 540 college and university business schools worldwide for about 30 years.
Because of work obligations, the team’s other two members, Ashley Kobe and Heather Schmeck, were unable to participate. So Kocsis took on the challenge himself.
“Zoltan really grasped the concepts more than any of us on the team,” said Kobe. “I mean, we all did our part and everything, but he pretty much was the mastermind behind the strategies.”
Kobe, who took a job in Austin, Texas, as an administrative assistant for Global Operations Organization at Dell, said she is excited for her former classmate but disappointed she was unable to compete with him.
“That really saddens me,” she said. “But it’s great, what he was able to accomplish.”
Kocsis implemented the same strategies he used for the capstone project, making only minor changes to meet the needs of the global competition.
He credits his College of Business courses for giving him the knowledge to work through the processes and develop his competitive business strategy. In particular, the capstone course helped better prepare him to understand and report data. Rather than it taking three to four hours to read and understand the content, he could do so in about 10 minutes.
“By the time of the competition, I already knew how to read the reports to know what information I’m interested in,” he said. “The rest is just prognosis, guess what’s going to happen and go from there.”
“He definitely has a mind for business, there’s no question about it,” said Schmeck, a client service executive who was on business trips to Japan and Germany for an international marketing firm at the time of the competition. “I’m not at all surprised that he did so well. He has a very analytical mind.”
Kocsis said he would have been very disappointed if he didn’t win. “It’s a good accomplishment. I’m proud of it.”
Competing alone and placing first in such a large-scale competition is an incredible accomplishment, said Tom Philippe, a professor in the College of Business who teaches international business courses and the capstone course. “Zoltan did a wonderful job. He worked hard and deserves the recognition that he has received. The department also should feel like it’s on the right course because our preparation of the students seems to be validated.”
“We’ve only been doing this competition for a year now,” said Robin Wilber, a Professor of Finance in the College of Business who also teaches the capstone course. “Our fall students from last year placed second and then Zoltan went on to place first, which is really impressive.
“He has set the bar very high,” Wilber said.