Three Cal Poly Pomona Singelyn Graduate School of Business students joined faculty mentor Preeti Wadhwa, Ph.D., at the University of California, Davis’s Financial Times Biz Quiz 2023 competition Nov. 17 to 18, with the SGSB team sweeping the competition with first-prize placements.
The UC Davis Graduate School of Management collaborates with the Financial Times to host student teams from UC business schools at this invite-only event. In this “Jeopardy-style” competition, teams buzz-in to answer questions based on news content from the Financial Times.
Bree Nguyen, Master of Science in business analytics student, united with her peers, Adib Golestan and Neelan Ganesan. Together, their victory resulted in claiming more than $3,000 in prize money. Golestan, a first-time visitor to Sacramento, California as an international student from Malaysia, collected $750 and Nguyen received $500 as individual awards.
Wadhwa emphasized the intensity of her students as the squad dealt with the strain of competing against other prestigious universities.
“They totally went in as underdogs … they actually asked me, ‘Would you still be proud of us if we came in last?’ And my joke with them was like, ‘Let’s just not come in last, everything else is fine,’” said Wadhwa.
To prepare for the business competition, the SGSB team developed databases to track breaking news and arrange the massive number of clips generated over a two-month press cycle from the Financial Times.
There were at least 40 articles per day, resulting in 1,600 articles available for preparation. The SGSB team credited their success to a routine that consisted of late-night meetings with countless drills of questions.
Nguyen highlighted the hustle of her team and the organic leadership that stemmed from Wadhwa.
“Our team supported each other wholeheartedly,” said Nguyen. “We all were on the same level of intensity and work ethic, which helped a lot. And we naturally fell into strengths that happened to complement each other. I give all that credit of the team organization to our advisor Dr. Preeti Wadhwa who developed our team in the first place. This win means so much to me. It was so much information and content to read and retain in a very short time.”
Nguyen relished in the aftermath of the team’s hustle, focusing on the overwhelming emotion of gratification.
“To know that our hard work actually paid off is the most rewarding feeling,” said Nguyen. “We learned a lot too and have an extremely updated and broad understanding of world financial and trade affairs.”
As first-time participants, the SGSB students shined through the competition, casting a shadow over 12 teams that included other universities as USC and UC Irvine.
As faculty coach, Wadhwa kept a record of the scores in writing for each question presented. In some instances of the competition, she challenged the host’s decision during the match, an approved allowance during the competition. Wadhwa recalled there were at least six questions that earned the team six points after she contested the answer.
Students had a chance to meet with the Financial Times staff such as Andrew Jack, the global education editor. The student cohorts could participate in an educational interview with CalPERS CEO Marcia Frost. Students relished networking opportunities, an evening event and dinner.
Wadhwa confirmed the Singelyn Graduate School of Business, and Dean Sandeep Krishnamurthy, showed massive support toward the success of the SGSB students. They helped with resources and funding.
“They (the SGSB team) were selling themselves short, they weren’t going to come in last or second to last, for that matter,” said Wadhwa. “I think that was the big deal for me, watching them soak it all in, having students from Ivy League look up to them.”
As champions, the SGSB team is invited back to defend their title.