Rider SBI Team Wins Best-In-Nation Small Business Consulting Award

Rider University’s acclaimed Small Business Institute (SBI) has gained more national recognition for the quality of its student consulting work in the greater Mercer County region.
Thursday, February 11, 1999

Rider University’s acclaimed Small Business Institute (SBI) has gained more national recognition for the quality of its student consulting work in the greater Mercer County region.

At the 23rd-annual Small Business Institute Directors Association conference Thursday afternoon (Feb. 11) in San Francisco, it was announced that the Rider team of Christopher Molinari of Flemington and Ronald Camp of Spotswood, both College of Continuing Studies students, won the best Undergraduate Consulting Case of the Year Award.  Molinari graduated in May 1998 with a degree in management, while Camp is a senior management major.

Their case study was based on their consulting work with Realty Guardian Title Company of Freehold during the 1997-98 academic year.  They worked with Josh Elkes, Realty Guardian president.

To enter the competition, colleges pick the best case from all projects done at the school that year.  Since many schools conduct 15-20 consulting projects per year, the potential nationwide pool of cases available for competition is more than 500.

To become one of ten finalists for the top national honor, college teams had to first win regional honors.  This marked the second straight year that a Rider team had captured the regional competition to move into the finals.

Other regional winners this year included Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Sonoma State University, Montana State University, East Carolina University, University of Minnesota, Keene State College, Oral Roberts University, and Seattle University.

“To be the best case against this level of competition is a wonderful honor,” said Dr. Ronald Cook, associate professor of management and SBI director at Rider.  “This is the top award you can win at the undergraduate level.  There is none greater.”

Cook called the team’s consulting work with Realty Guardian, “a very intensive learning experience” because he prefers using small, two-student teams.  Other colleges, he said, tend to use larger teams.

Last year’s regional winning team from Rider (CCS students Ruby Chan and Donna Conte) garnered significant acclaim for its work with Trenton businesswoman Deborah Aguiar-Velez and her computer training company, Sistemática.  This particular case gained national publicity after being featured as the cover story for Your Company magazine and led to dozens of calls to the SBIDA from firms around the country.

Rider’s SBI also won two other awards at last year’s conference – a national showcase award and a prize for top faculty paper in its category.

Since the creation of Rider’s SBI program in 1994, Cook has sent student consulting teams to more than 40 area small businesses and organizations.  The students provide assistance in aspects of business ranging from finance, management, marketing, computing, accounting, operations, inventory, or a combination of areas.