By Wesley Coburn - ONN
It’s not often that a national championship is won in anything, but a Tulsa college student recently claimed first place in a nationwide financial analysis competition held in Anaheim, California, from June 23-28. Madeline Soukup, who recently graduated from Tulsa Community College with an Associate of Science in international business, won the college-level division (Phi Beta Lambda, or PBL) of the Future Business Leaders of America’s National Leadership Conference last week. The only level of education barred from this competition were those with Ph.D degrees.
In the final round, participants, which may be either individuals or teams of up to three competitors, were given twenty minutes to analyze case studies of business plans, preparing a 5-7 minute presentation to a judging panel of how they would solve the problem.
To get to that final round, participants had to place first or second at state-level competitions, and then once they got to Nationals there was an hour-long hundred-question timed multiple-choice test, with the top fifteen scores advancing to the final round.
“On a skill level, participants must have a good working knowledge in finance theory,” Soukup stated, adding that while most competitors have extensive experience with college classes in finance, her learning experience in this field was self-taught.
This commitment to independent learning likely is because Madeline was homeschooled before graduating from Jenks High School; she has lived in and around the Tulsa area for most of her life.
This was her third national PBL trophy overall, previously garnering two others in economics, which she described as a “widely-applicable social science that considers how decisions are made by countries and individuals,” while finance is “more about how money works and the way it flows through firms.” She was an officer of the TCC PBL chapter this past year.
While at the conference, “I developed contacts all over the nation, made some wonderful new friends, grew closer to my fellow TCC competitors, went to fantastic guest speakers and workshops, and I got to visit a beach for the first time since I was three,” Soukup said. “The trip was absolutely incredible, I wouldn't trade it for anything.”
Madeline, an Honors student with a 3.9 GPA, is continuing her education this fall at the University of Tulsa, where she will double-major in economics and finance.