FBLA-PBL Emerging Issues Team

Campus Blog

Statewide PBL competition brings awards and an unexpected surprise

April 5th, 2013 | Brandon Hoffman


As a business major, I was able to compete this year in the Phi Beta Lambda National Awards Program. Phi Beta Lambda — or PBL — is a club/program that “recognizes and rewards excellence in a broad range of business and career-related areas.” It has been a fun, rewarding experience and a great way to test my knowledge related to my major.

At the State Leadership Conference, students compete in events testing their business knowledge and skills. Top state winners are eligible to compete for national awards at the National Leadership Conference each summer.

This year, we had to compete via video conferencing, because a freak snowstorm prevented us from commuting to the competitions this year. At least we had home field advantage.

I competed in a group competition called “Emerging Business Issues.” Essentially, we were given a topic prior to the competitions and were expected to be able to argue for or against it the topic at hand. The judges would tell us which side we had to advocate for the day of the competition. Thus, we had to be prepared for both.

This year, the topic was about the corporate tax rate and whether we felt it should be reduced or remain the same. Fortunately, we got to argue for the side we felt the most confident for. I’m proud to say we took 1st place and have earned a spot at the national competition in California.

However, there was another surprise for me that day as well.

One of my teammates and friends, Natalie Nordstrom, had secretly signed me up for a competition that I was entirely unaware of. She, of course, felt this was an ingenious prank. Without any warning, I was whisked away to compete for the “Business Decision Making” category.

I was given a page synopsis of a theoretical “crisis” and had to extemporaneously suggest solutions. I felt like I was drowning, as a panel grilled me at every turn; demanding solutions for things as intricate as tax evasion, waste management, social media engagement, etc.

By some stroke of luck (or perhaps bad luck), I took second place, also earning a spot in the national competition.

As a student athlete, I’ve rarely had the time to participate in these kinds of extracurricular activities. I enjoyed this rare opportunity and will say that they are highly competitive and equally as fun. For incoming students or current Crusaders, finding these kind of extracurriculars is an excellent way to meet new people, forge friendships and test your ambition.

I look forward to Nationals. However, this by no stroke of the imagination means that Natalie is forgiven.


Want more? Brandon wasn’t the only student to win big at the PBL competition. Read the press release about the event, Thirteen Evangel students capture first-place wins in statewide Phi Beta Lambda event.

Brandon Hoffman

Finance Major | Class of 2013

Brandon Hoffman is a senior finance major from Woodstock, Georgia. He is a member of the Track and Field team and president of the Student Investment Group.

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