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USM Team Advances to Finals of Community Bank Case Study Competition

Mon, 06/10/2024 - 09:42am | By: Van Arnold


From right to left: Dr. Bret Becton, Dean of the College of Business and Economic Development; Chase Blankenship; Hoppy Cole, The First’s CEO; DeeDee Lowery, The First’s CFO, and USM’s team of business students.

A team of business students from The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) has advanced to the final round in the 2024 CSBS Community Bank Case Study Competition. USM and four other teams emerged from the second round of 11 teams to reach the finals.

This is the 10th year of the competition, which is open to undergraduate students in all fields of study as an opportunity to gain valuable first-hand knowledge of the banking industry. The top three teams will be announced on June 25.

This year, the teams partnered with local community banks to determine lessons learned from the Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank, and First Republic Bank closures, identify the banks’ expectations for regulatory and supervisory changes, and evaluate how the banks are using social media.

A total of 27 student teams representing 21 colleges and universities entered the competition, this year. The final five teams are: 

  • Commonwealth University of Pennsylvania 
  • Southeastern Louisiana University 
  • Trine University (Indiana) 
  • The University of Illinois-Springfield 
  • University of Southern Mississippi 

USM team members include:

Julian Atehortua Martinez
Rionegro, Antioquia - Colombia

Senior, double major in International Business and Finance

Tyler Pierce

Mandeville, La.

Graduated May 2024, Finance

Walter Johnson

Oxford, Miss.

Graduated May 2024, double major in Accounting and Finance

James Ankiewicz 

Mobile, Ala.

Senior, double major in Accounting and Finance

Garrett Lamky

Bay St. Louis, Miss.

Senior, Finance major

Noted Martinez: “Participating in this competition has been a unique experience. From the beginning of this project, I have had a great time gaining new connections with top executives at The First Bank and sharing work with a fantastic team of classmates. I am grateful for making it to the top five in this competition. It is truly an honor.”

Added Pierce: “We put many hours into writing this report and interviewing The First Bank. Participating in this case study was challenging at times but very rewarding in the end. I am so excited to see that our hard work has paid off and we are in the top five.”

Ankiewicz stated: “I thoroughly enjoyed working with this team and felt that we had great chemistry that allowed us to excel in writing this paper. Making it to the finals is a prime example of how this chemistry translated to the final product, and I’m thrilled that we are all getting recognition for our hard work.”

Each student member and faculty advisor of the first-place winning team will receive a $1,000 scholarship and present their findings at the Community Banking Research Conference in St. Louis in early October. Their work will be published in the annual CSBS Journal of Community Bank Case Studies. The second and third ranked teams also will receive scholarships and have their works published in the journal.

Learn more about the competition.