Steven Downs and Cole Hart

A pair of Methodist University students are receiving global recognition after placing Top 5 in an international business competition.

A pair of Methodist University students are receiving global recognition after placing Top 5 in an international business competition.

Seniors Steven Downs and Cole Hart recently competed in MikesBikes World Champs, an international collegiate business competition hosted by SmartSims Inc. of New Zealand that challenges students to run a simulated bicycle manufacturing company within a simulated industry.

After a series of rounds, Downs and Hart placed fourth overall in the worldwide online competition – a huge accomplishment for the students and Methodist University.

“We put a lot of effort into this so I’m very happy that it paid off,” said Downs, a Business Administration and Marketing major. “It was an incredible learning experience that built off of what we were learning in the classroom at MU. We put our knowledge into practice.”

Steven Downs and Cole Hart
Cole Hart (left) and Steven Downs

The competition tasked students with everyday business decisions of a bicycle company, deciding key factors such as employee salaries, schedule of production, costs, marketing, distribution, and more.

“This competition helped us learn how to research competitors, determine their strategies, and find new ways to become profitable,” said Hart, who is majoring in Marketing and minoring in Business Administration. “It forces you to think outside of the box.”

According to Associate Professor of Management Michael Wayland, their performance bodes well for the students once they graduate in May.

“This competition is trying to develop broad-based business acumen, something that is critical for success post-graduation,” Wayland said. “They’re able to demonstrate their business acumen, which is exactly what Fortune 500 companies are looking for. I’m so proud of them.”

Downs and Hart were invited to the competition after solid performances in the MikesBikes Business Simulation in MU’s Business Strategy class last fall – a program used at the University since 2008-09.

In fact, Downs and Hart were only two of a large group of MU students with impressive performances in the class. Three student groups placed in the 90th percentile or higher out of more than 13,000 teams across the world.

  • Big Bike Energy (96th percentile): Carter Favreau ’23, junior Albert Pajarilla, senior Nattakan Rassameesung, senior Degnet Soto, senior Austin Steigelman, senior Nicholas Vernon
  • Best Bikes Inc. (95th percentile): senior Steven Downs, senior Cole Hart, Mathew Malone ’23, senior Evan Plant, Halie Yi ’23, senior Nathaniel Wheeler, senior Emily Porto
  • Pedal Pushers (93rd percentile): senior Kyle Berg, senior Cameron Cappuzzo, senior Aiden Spampinato, senior Samuel Taylor, senior Margaret Williams, senior Patrick Rowell

Methodist University also has two teams in the SmartSims Worldwide All-Time Hall of Fame: “Keep It Rolling” (Marko Simovic ’14 and Hamidullah Wafakaish ’14) and “Teeter Taylor Trikes” (Sean Teeter ’11 and Matthew Taylor ’11).

Methodist University’s Reeves School of Business offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Accounting, Business Administration, Business Analytics, Financial Economics, Management, Marketing, and Sport Management – many of them offered both on-campus and online. The Reeves School of Business is nationally accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and consistently prepares students for high-paying, successful careers. To apply, visit the Reeves School of Business web page.