U.Va. Students Create New High School Academic Business Competition

February 29, 2012

February 29, 2012 — What's the best way to reduce the social acceptance of insurance fraud, at a time when two of five Americans favor little or no punishment for insurance cheats?

That's the keynote question posed by a new statewide High School Academic Business Competition organized by University of Virginia students and happening Friday at U.Va. More than 40 high school students will attend, traveling from seven high schools across Virginia.

Competing as four-person teams, the high school students will attend lectures and take exams covering accounting and general business concepts.

For the finale of the competition, the four-person teams will each present their proposal for a community-based project to reduce insurance fraud – the second-most costly white-collar crime in America, costing the average citizen $300 in added insurance premiums, according to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.

Each team member from the overall winning team will receive a $25 Amazon gift card.

The competition is organized by the U.Va. chapter of Students in Free Enterprise, an international organization that works with leaders in business and higher education to develop socially responsible business leaders.

The U.Va. chapter was founded in 2009 and is affiliated with the McIntire School of Commerce, said Kyle Bye, a chapter leader and a second-year student who plans to major in commerce.

The U.Va. students created this competition, including the exams, drawing on lessons learned in McIntire courses, and with guidance from McIntire faculty members Mary Erickson and Chris Wilcox Elliott, Bye said.

The competition will take place Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., in various classrooms in Rouss and Robertson halls.

Team presentations will be judged based on creativity, Bye said. The competition judges will include McIntire faculty; local business leaders from Chase Investment Counsel, Greenwood Lending, HSBC Bank, Liberty Mutual and Merrill Lynch; and Charlottesville City Councilor Dave Norris, executive director of the Charlottesville Institute.

The competition is sponsored by Liberty Mutual and a personal donation from Jarrett Spencer, a senior sales representative at Liberty Mutual in Charlottesville.

The participating high schools are First Colonial High School in Virginia Beach, Albemarle High School, James W. Robinson, Jr. Secondary School in Fairfax County, Granby High School in Norfolk, Lebanon High School in Lebanon, the Miller School of Albemarle and Giles High School in Pearisburg.

The competition will give participating students the opportunity to visit the University, said Alejandro Alcala, a second-year anthropology major in the College of Arts & Sciences and vice president of projects for Students in Free Enterprise.

For information, contact Kyle Bye at kdb2hz@virginia.edu or 609-402-5191.

– by Brevy Cannon