News from Montgomery College

900 Hungerford Drive, Suite 200, Rockville, MD 20850 

Date: April 15, 2004 (04-45)

PHOTO EDITORS: A high-resolution image to accompany this story is available at   /news/highresolutionimages/04/2004regionalchampions.jpg

Montgomery College ‘Students in Free Enterprise’ Team Tops in Region
Team of Macklin Business Institute Scholars Will Now Head to Nationals in Kansas City 

Montgomery College’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team captured the regional championship in the two-year college division, for the second year in a row, for its presentation of educational outreach projects at the 2004 SIFE USA Regional Competition, which took place on March 29 in Crystal City, VA.

Sixteen honors students from Montgomery College’s Macklin Business Institute program participated on the MC SIFE team, taking the crown as regional champions for community colleges.

The competition, sponsored by Unilever, featured teams from 30 universities and colleges divided into leagues of two-year college and four-year university divisions. Regional Champions in each league earned a $1,500 cash award and a trophy.

SIFE is a global, non-profit organization that offers talented college students an opportunity to develop leadership, teamwork and communication skills through learning, practicing and teaching the principles of free enterprise.  Students from the MC SIFE team were guided by two faculty advisors: Professor Jeffrey Schwartz, director of the Macklin Business Institute, and Professor Tom Anderson.  

MC SIFE team member Michelle Kung described the competition as “unforgettable… the event developed teamwork and friendships among my colleagues and me.  The excitement and enthusiasm both surprised and motivated me to set higher expectations of myself.” 

According to team member Manuela Ginsburg, participating in all of the SIFE projects has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience that she has thoroughly enjoyed, because it allowed her and her fellow students to display the knowledge and experience gained throughout the past year. 

The MC SIFE team presentations showcased the team’s mentoring of students in public schools, its promotion of the importance of ethics in business, its management of the student-run MBI Café at Montgomery College, and the students’ volunteer assistance to inner-city individuals, through the Washington Entrepreneurial Partnership (WEP).

Team member Jack Masangu kicked off the MC presentations by highlighting the concepts of shortage and surplus involved in international trade taught to seventh grade students at Gaithersburg Middle School in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Team member Adam Lotinsky successfully presented a financial savings project that he had done in two Montgomery County middle schools, Gaithersburg Middle School and Forest Oak Middle School. The eighth graders were taught the importance of saving money in the bank, to earn interest.

Michelle Kung reported on the success of a Macklin Business Institute-sponsored community symposium last year that featured key note speaker U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes. She outlined the event and addressed the impact of the Sarbanes-Oxley Law on auditing practices, transparency in business and government intervention.

Julia Seebacher and Anvar Zhumagali gave a presentation on the impact of the team’s mentoring program with the Washington Entrepreneurial Partnership. Through this effort, students helped entrepreneurs in the District of Columbia learn the proper skills on how to start and operate a successful business.

“Instead of giving them a fish, teach them how to fish,” noted Anvar. In addition to teaching basic computer skills, research method and financial management, they voluntarily supported the students in developing a 30-40 page business plan.

Team members Blanca Belloso and Ryan McGoff provided a detailed presentation on the MBI Café, which “proudly brews Starbucks Coffee” and  is managed by the Macklin Scholars. The 16 students in the business honors program are divided into four departments to manage the café: Human Resources, Marketing, Accounting and Operations, as students are responsible for all hiring, advertising, recording expenses and ordering supplies.

Lisa Persaud effectively wrapped up the MC team’s presentation with an overview of each project. Eight other students on the MC SIFE team worked behind the scenes to help in the preparations for the presentations and played key roles in the various projects, throughout the year. They include: Lisa Ku, Robin Lindgren, Manuela Ginsburg, Silvia Dontcheva, Dana Filatova, Natalie Taylor, Natalia Barrionuevo and Tetee Bropleh.

Montgomery College’s SIFE team, along with regional champions in both the two-year and four-year leagues, will now go on to compete nationally in Kansas City, Missouri during the last week of May. Each year, SIFE Teams compete for more than $400,000 in prize money and trophies, not to mention the local and national recognition.

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Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park, plus workforce development and continuing education centers in Gaithersburg, Wheaton and  Silver Spring. The College serves nearly 50,000 students a year, through both credit and non-credit programs, in more than 100 areas of study.