November 21, 2019

Photo of business ethics competition winners and their professors.

Highlands business students who won a statewide ethics competition stand with their business professors and coaches Carla Romero, far left, and Melanie Zollner. The students, beginning third from the left, are Dana Bishop, Olivia Muñiz, Griffin Logan, Miguel García and Warren Roybal. Ali Shabaneh is in front with the trophy.

Las Vegas, N.M – New Mexico Highlands University business students took first place in the Seventh New Mexico Business Ethics Case Competition Nov. 13–14 at the University of New Mexico. The five students from the Highlands main campus included Miguel García, Ali Shabaneh, Olivia Muñiz, Griffin Logan, and Warren Roybal, as well as Dana Bishop from the Highlands Farmington Center.

University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University, New Mexico Tech, and New Mexico Military Institute also competed.

The Highlands championship Ethics Team was composed of students in business professor Carla Romero’s business ethics class and business professor Melanie Zollner’s organizational leadership class. Some also took a previous class in business ethics with Zollner.

The professors coached the Highlands team for the business ethics competition.

“Our students did a wonderful job coming together and working as a team in this challenging competition,” Zollner said. “The judges commended them on their professionalism and team spirit.”

Romero said, “I’m really proud of the way our students conveyed their knowledge of business ethics and professionalism. They are exceptional representatives for Highlands.”

“This was a great opportunity for all who participated,” said Miguel García, a senior from Las Vegas, New Mexico. “It’s really positive that we have these kind of ethics conversations, especially in our current political climate.”

“I learned how to be more ethical in business by approaching dilemmas from all aspects, such as finance, human resources, company culture and legal implications,” said Olivia Muñiz, a senior from Denver, Colorado. “I like to consider myself an ethical person and this competition was an opportunity to apply what I’ve learned about ethics at Highlands.”

García, who competed in the business ethics competition in 2018, said this year’s victory for Highlands was sweet. “We worked well as a team to overcome the competition.”

Muñiz said, “I think our team’s synergy and chemistry stem from the tight-knit family culture at Highlands.”

“The goal of the School of Business is to help form future business leaders with strong ethics,” Zollner said. “This ethics competition is a unique opportunity to gain experience examining a business case study and then develop a strategy for ethical behavior through addressing legal and financial implications.”

Zollner said she makes it a point to stress ethics in every business course she teaches at Highlands, with the business ethics class in particular providing the chance to delve deeply into the important and always-timely subject.

“In business ethics we take a close look at an organization’s code of ethics, values, training, compliance with laws and regulations, global ethics, sustainability and leadership,” Zollner said.

Zollner has led a team of Highlands business students to the New Mexico Business Ethics Case Competition since its inception.