March 2017: Chisato Smith — A member of the winning team at the 2017 IB Case Competition

Posted On May 8, 2017

Who is Chisato?
Chisato Smith was born in Japan and lived there for over 20 years. She received a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from Kyushu University in Japan. In her junior year, she studied abroad as an exchange student at University of Georgia (UGA) where she started growing her interest in foreign cultures and international business. After graduation, she worked for Emirates as a flight attendant for about 4 years and traveled to 44 countries.

The experience Chisato had at Emirates became her great asset. She truly enjoyed assisting people and developing cultural awareness. She decided to study accounting at Georgia State University (GSU) after she left Emirates.

Chisato was thrilled to participate in the CIBER international business case competition in her last semester as an undergraduate student at GSU as she saw it as an opportunity to test her ability and knowledge in international business and accounting.

The winning team, left to right: Meritt Rabson, Florida Institute of Technology; Chisato Smith, Georgia State University; Kelsey Washington, Savannah State University; Marcel Toran, Johnson C. Smith University


“My team won the first prize of the International Business Case Competition. I believe that the biggest contributing factor to the victory is that all of us critically examined each other’s opinions and sought ways to polish them. As long as you maintain a professional manner, focus on the subject matter, and provide feedback in good faith, your feedback will contribute to improving your team’s final work and help your teammates. In fact, one of the judges asked a similar question as I had asked my teammate a night before the presentation!

Another important thing to keep in mind is preparation. We had a limited time for team building and preparation for the presentation. In order to spend the limited time efficiently, I recommend future participants to read the case and define the problem before starting the case discussion.

One thing my team should have done differently is to set a role for each team member at the beginning of the discussion (e.g., one person leading the discussion, one person creating the PowerPoint presentation, and two others researching). We figured out each member’s role during the discussion. However, if we set a role at the beginning of the discussion, our discussion could have been smoother.

Most importantly, enjoy solving the case and interacting with people! There is no right or wrong answer for the case. What most important is your thought process – whether you can critically analyze the case and offer feasible solutions. You should be confident in your opinion once you put a good amount of effort into solving the case! Also, I met many talented students from different universities. Conversations I had with highly motivated students stimulated me and broadened my view.

Lastly, I would like to thank Dr. Cavusgil and Dr. White for giving me this great opportunity to intellectually challenge myself. I enjoyed every moment of the competition and feel more confident in tackling issues in the real business world after the competition.”