Co-Lin’s PBL chapter wins six awards at national competition

PBL Group PhotoCo-Lin’s Nu Kappa Chapter of Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) claimed six national awards at the PBL National Leadership Conference held in Anaheim, California. Over 2,500 students from colleges and universities from across the nation represented their institutions to compete in more than 50 specialized business events. The annual PBL conference highlights outstanding students in business and leadership roles.

Madeline “Libby” Knight of Georgetown claimed the top spot in Local Chapter Annual Business Report winning first place in the nation. The team of Nikki Castilaw of Wesson, Nicholas Dukes of Mendenhall, and David Thames of Wesson won third place in Small Business Management Plan. In the Macroeconomics category, Ernest Matt Smith of Brookhaven was the highest ranked community college student winning fourth place. Wayne Lambert of Wesson placed sixth for Sales Presentation. The team of Nicholas Dukes and Ernest Matt Smith won sixth place for Economic Analysis and Decision Making and were the only community college students in the top 10.

In addition to individual awards, the Nu Kappa Chapter was named a Gold Seal Chapter, a recognition only the top chapters in the nation receive based on overall community service, business performance, and chapter involvement.

Advisers for the Nu Kappa Chapter are Mike McIntyre, Richard Baker, and Eddie Britt. Baker says the tradition of success dates back over 40 years.

“I really think the key to our success is really not a secret, but a lot of hard work from a lot of people over many years. Co-Lin has always been so supportive of our organization. This was, without a doubt, the highest percentage of Top 10 award winners we have ever had. It is a great testament to the work of our students and to all those involved with our organization,” said Baker.  

It takes a village of faculty, staff, and local business leaders to prepare students for the national competition.

“Our faculty take time with students to challenge them and help them practice for competition. By them giving so much of their extra time, our students learn problem solving and communication skills to help them think on their feet during the competition,” said Baker. “We’ve also had local business leaders support our program by being guest judges, speakers, and coaches.”

Many business leaders that support PBL were once members themselves and now use their experience to help Co-Lin students.

“We encourage students to stay involved with our chapter after they leave Co-Lin. This creates an invaluable network, giving us access to professionals who want to help our students as they enter the workforce,” Baker said.

Aside from the national competition, Baker says that seeing student growth is the main goal.

“By combining the experience, dedication, and support from faculty and administration, participation from the business community, and motivated students, we are able to help students grow into young professionals.”

About Phi Beta Lambda: PBL is a non-profit educational association for students preparing for careers in business, entrepreneurial or business-related fields. The association prepares students for employment by promoting competent, aggressive business leadership, increasing understanding of American free enterprise, establishing career goals, encouraging scholarship, promoting efficient money management, and developing character and self-confidence. Co-curricular activities encourage career development, civic service, economic education, community involvement and business advocacy. Partnerships are formed with Chambers of Commerce, local businesses, industries, and government. An extensive skills competitions program is offered to challenge members in the academic pursuits. It is the collegiate counterpart of the high school’s Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). PBL has over 800 chapters and approximately 17,000 members on community and senior college campuses nationwide, organized in all 50 states and American provinces. It is the nation’s largest and oldest student business organization. Mississippi has over 40 chapters and approximately 1,000 members.

CUTLINE:  Co-Lin’s Nu Kappa Chapter of Phi Beta Lambda claimed six national awards at the National Leadership Conference held in Anaheim, CA. Front row from left, Richard Baker (co-advisor), Nilay Naresh, Nikki Castilaw, Mike McIntyre (co-advisor), Libby Knight, David Thames, Eddie Britt (co-advisor); back row from left, Ernest Matt Smth, Wayne Lambert, Nicholas Dukes, and Mack Smith.

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