The Associate winner announced
Senior Thomas Slemp was declared the winner of the 10th annual “The Associate” competition on Tuesday.
Slemp said he had not received any concrete details about his new position but he was definitely happy he won.
“I applied on a whim and just tried to do my best,” he said. “So I never imagined this would happen.”
The competition, managed by the College of Business and Economics and based on the TV show “The Apprentice,” pits eight seniors in the business major against each other with the winner receiving a job offer from the sponsoring company. This year’s sponsor was SECU.
Every week, the students are given business scenarios provided by local businesses. Then, based on their performances, the competitors are systematically removed from the competition.
President Maravene Loeschke attended the event along with more than 100 students, faculty, associates of SECU and spectators.
Attending the event was also former Towson CBE Advisory Board member and former judge of the competition Art Casserly. Casserly said that he came back to see how the event had developed from when he was a judge in 2006 when Bank of America sponsored the event.
“The technology and the quality of the presentations have improved but the workload for the students is still the same,” he said. “It’s like doing a term paper every week.”
In his experience, Casserly said that the local companies involved with the competition actually consider and use the students’ ideas at meetings.
“It’s all real world businesses with real world situations and these students are coming up with real world solutions,” he said.
Casserly said that judges and participating companies also consider hiring other participants as well if they think the student has the right qualities and even make inquiries after the competition.
Dean of the College of Business and Economics Shohreh Kaynama said the competition this year exceeded her expectations.
“This competition is a great way for us to show the caliber of our students,” she said.
Kaynama said that the rules of the competition may be tweaked for next year but that there is no intention to make any major changes.
“It’s not broken and it’s working well, so don’t fix it,” she said.
All eight participants were presented with a $1,000 scholarship from Kaynama.
The students also received a debit card for a $1,000 checking account in their name from SECU CEO Rod Staatz.
Runner-up, senior Tanyea Jordan said she was relieved and happy that the competition was over.
“It was really just to get to experience, but it’s now a great weight off my shoulders,” she said.
Jordan says she looks forward to having her last days of college before graduating and getting her life back.
When asked about the students who may choose to apply for the competition next year, Slemp said they should apply as soon as they’re able.
“Don’t think about it, just do it,” he said.