St. A’s places second, wins $1,100 in international ethics competition


Jacob Akey, Anthony Walters, Thomas Donovan, Sara Danner, Riley Buchanan. (Courtesy / Jacob Akey)

Tom Canuel, Crier Staff

A team of five students from the college recently placed second in their division for a 25-minute presentation and first for a 90-second presentation at the International Business Ethics Case Competition (IBECC). 

Students Jacob Akey, ‘24; Sara Danner, ’23; Thomas Donovan, ’24; Riley Buchanan, ’24, and Anthony Walters, ’25 competed in this year’s competition and were led by Dr. Jeffrey Wiebe of the business department and Dr. Robert Anderson of the philosophy department. This marks Saint Anselm College’s third appearance in the competition.

The competition contains three presentations, a longer 25 minute presentation, a 10-minute presentation with two competitors, and a 90-second elevator pitch. This year, the college team dove into the world of AI technology, tackling issues including accessibility, content control, propaganda, ownership, safety/security, and impact on humanity and economics. Walters is credited with the first place finish in the 90-second competition as he was the only speaker for the presentation.

“We got to choose our own topic, so we delved into the ethical issues of OpenAI as a company. We got to touch on its uses, including the very relevant fears of using ChatGPT for academic dishonesty that many have seen this semester,” Thomas Donovan commented while reflecting on his first competition.

The preparation work for the competition was intense. Donovan would later comment, “Competing took a lot of preparation and memorization. Going in, I felt like I had almost covered too much material.” 

All the competitors agreed that they had a good experience with the competition. Danner competed in her last competition. She would reflect, “I had a great experience competing this year, especially because it’s my last semester here on the Hilltop. I felt very happy with myself and my team coming out of the competition because, even before the results came out, we knew we had done a good job.”

Buchanan emphasized her pride in her team. “The research was laborious, but I had great teammates and we worked well together. I was really proud of our team after we presented and was confident that we put a really strong foot forward.”

For Donovan, the best part of the experience was the awards ceremony. “Seeing that we had won second place in our division for the full length presentation and that our teammate Anthony had won us first place in our division for our 90-second presentation was definitely a highlight. All the work we did finally paid off. It felt great to be done and to have something to look back at with pride.”

Buchanan is ultimately thankful for all the support the team received. “I am really grateful for the smart, hardworking group of students I met and got to work with and the helpful advice from Professor Anderson and Professor Wiebe. The greatest impact on my experience this year was the opportunity to work with our dynamic team.”

This was the college’s third time competing in the IBECC. The students took home and split prize money from the competition totaling $1,100. The team is typically comprised of students hand-selected by Professors Anderson and Wiebe. For those who are interested in competing in the future, Donovan noted, “If you are active in ethics on campus, and have made a good impression on some professors, you might get recommended.”