Alexis Young and Garrett Nelsen on Excelling in Negotiation

Sept. 26, 2017

Negotiation case competition team

Alexis Young '18 and Garrett Nelsen '18 Placed Third in the Baylor Business Negotiation Competition this Spring

Introduction by Dr. Barry Goldman, Associate Professor of Management and Organizations

The Business Negotiation Competition at Baylor University is a national, team-based challenge for undergraduates from across the country. Thanks to the support of Associate Dean and Undergraduate Programs Director Pam Perry and her team, we were able to send two teams of two students each plus myself to Baylor, Texas in April. I received a number of excellent volunteers from my two negotiation classes. From these, I selected Alexis YoungGarrett NelsenStu Francis and Claire Hughes plus two alternates.

I did not know how we would compare to teams from some of the best universities in the country, but knew we had a respectable shot at doing well given the ability and perseverance of these students. I was proud of their work and dedication; we met twice per week for more than seven weeks, and students also worked on their own. The students were extremely supportive of each other and we all were delighted that the team of Alexis Young and Garrett Nelsen placed third in the country—and a whisper’s breath from higher honors!

Alexis Young
'18 BSBA (Business Management and Entrepreneurship)

When I added the business negotiations course to my schedule I did not know that it was going to impact my life as much as it has. The first day of class Professor Barry Goldman introduced the idea of participating in the Baylor Business Negotiation Competition, and I was immediately intrigued. He warned us that it was going to be a lot of work, but I had recently decided I might want to go to law school and so I thought this could be an invaluable experience.  

The preparation was much more challenging than I had expected, but I loved every minute of it. The whole team met two to three times a week outside of class to practice cases and to improve our negotiation skills. On top of that, my partner Garrett and I would meet for hours to prepare to negotiate our cases. Now, when I am in the Professional Development Center, all I can think about is sitting there with Garrett engaged in an intense conversations covering our roles, what we were going to say, secret signals and even outfit coordination. It is true that you can’t have success without hard work! 

For me, the best part about this experience has been getting to know the people. Going into this I knew only one person out of the six people who participated, but now I consider everyone a great friend. It has been so amazing to see how much everyone has grown as negotiators and as people.

I am still not sure what I want to do when I grow up (maybe start a film production company!), but I know I will continue to develop my negotiation skills because this experience taught me how valuable and important it is to be a good negotiator. I am so thankful we were given this opportunity, and I am so proud of everyone in our team because Garrett and I could not have achieved third place in the nation without such great support!

Garrett Nelsen
’18 BSBA (Business Management)

The weekend of the competition had finally arrived. The months of training and preparation Alexis and I undertook was all for this upcoming weekend. We got the opportunity to fly to Baylor together, which brought our team even closer.

The final preparations were completed Friday night before the big day on Saturday. The day’s schedule was long and strenuous. We all arrived at the Hankamer School of Business at 7 a.m. to eat breakfast and review rules with the other competitors. Our first round of negotiations began at 8 a.m. This round consisted of 45 minutes of negotiations followed by feedback from the judges. Our first round competitors came from Southern Methodist University, and they were extremely skilled and ready to respond to our positions for the case. It was a very hard fought, back-and-forth negotiation that ended in our favor.

Immediately following the negotiation, our two teams and Dr. Goldman anxiously talked about how we thought we did. The results were posted, and Alexis and I were moving on! Although it was a first round victory, it was still exciting to advance to the next round of the competition. The celebration was short lived, however, because we quickly approached the start of the next round against a team from the University of Connecticut.

Six teams had moved on to the second round, and only two would advance to the final round. Alexis and I felt very confident going into the second round, and felt our preparation and work with Dr. Goldman would help us succeed. The round consisted of another tough team and a hard fought negotiation. Alexis and I were able to catch a slip-up from the other team, and used that to gain leverage in our negotiation to help with our final outcome. After the conclusion of the second round, the results were read aloud. We had beat the team we competed against, but the other two winning teams had a better overall score, thus putting our team as third place and finishing our day. We were disappointed and frustrated that we weren’t able to move on the final round of the competition, but we were happy with how well we had done.

I am extremely thankful that the Eller College and Dr. Goldman gave Alexis and me the opportunity to partake in such an amazing experience. The art of negotiation is a lifelong skill that is always a work in process, and because of this experience, I have grown as a person and a future businessman.

Header image: The Eller team at the Baylor Business Negotiation Competition (left to right): name, name, Dr. Barry Goldman, Garrett Nelsen '18, Alexis Young '18, name.