Ohio State is hosting what could be one of its biggest competitions this weekend — and it has nothing to do with football.
Seventeen schools are traveling across the country to participate in the Fisher College of Business Biz Quiz. The competition uses Wall Street Journal articles to test competitors’ knowledge on current events.
It’s similar to the television show “Jeopardy!” with buzzers and all, said Nancy Lahmers, director of Biz Quiz.
A group of OSU business students created the competition, which is in its fifth year, for a project in professor Rao Unnava’s honors marketing class.
“The students weren’t interested in doing a case competition,” Unnava said. “We have lots of those all over.”
Unnava challenged them to create something more interesting and fun for students, and Biz Quiz was born.
Three students make up each team and compete in three team rounds. Nine teams advance to the semi-finals, with only three teams surviving to the finals.
Semifinalist teams receive a $100 gift card to Barnes and Noble while finalist teams are awarded a card worth $1,500. Nationwide provides the prizes.
Second-year Adam Windnagel and fourth-year students Brenna Brown and Dan Kane will represent OSU this year.
“I’m a little nervous because I don’t know what to expect,” Brown said. “I’m worried that we’ll have a lot of competitors that were crazy about studying, and I won’t have the reflexes to buzz in.”
Unnava said being nervous is unavoidable.
“If you’re at the finals on Sunday, you’ll know what I’m talking about. The excitement of the students, the tension in the room, the toughness of the questions — there are CEO’s that say they can’t answer the questions,” Unnava said. “The people that are coming to Biz Quiz are some of the best students in those colleges.”
But with the nerves comes excitement, Kane said, who studies almost two hours a day.
“I feel like we’ll perform well,” Kane said. “I feel confident that we understand our articles and are well prepared for the competition.”
OSU has never won but took second place in 2007.
OSU team will face stiff competition from Emory University and Michigan State University — which both have won the Biz Quiz twice.
“Those two teams are very intense and really prepare themselves,” said Diana Silveira, a third-year law student and operations coordinator for Biz Quiz. “We’ll see if it’s a battle or if there’s a new Biz Quiz champion.”
Kane wrote more than 20 pages of notes and said he plans to “cram” for the rest of the week. But he looks forward to more than just the competition.
“I think it’s really cool that 18 schools are bringing representatives to compete about the major issues of today,” Kane said. “It’s exciting to see tomorrow’s leaders come together to share their knowledge of the world’s events.”
Participating teams include University of Notre Dame, Texas A&M University, University of North Carolina, Miami University, Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin.
But no OSU competition is complete without rival Michigan, which is also competing.
Krishnan Anantharaman, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, will host the event.
“I love the reception the night before the competition. Some of the students will get up with their coaches and sing their respective fight songs,” Anantharaman said. “Most of the Big Ten teams are there, so there’s a lot of good-natured rivalry among these schools.”
The competition is held in Jeffers Auditorium in Nationwide, beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, and finals will be held Sunday.