Radford University economics major Michael Harris placed in the top 10 among competitors at a Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) National Leadership Conference competition held June 23-27 in Anaheim, California.


Harris, a rising senior from Christiansburg, finished in eighth place among numerous college and university students from around the United States in the economic analysis and decision-making contest. More than 1,800 students competed in events at the conference.

“It was an absolute honor to represent Radford University and the state of Virginia,” Harris said. “To bring national recognition to my university is the greatest honor and I hope that I represented Radford University, Virginia and myself to the standards the university would have wanted me to.”

Harris qualified for the competition by placing first in the economic analysis and decision-making event at the Virginia State Leadership Conference in April.

Harris’ national conference award was part of a comprehensive national competitive events program sponsored by Future Business Leaders of American (FBLA)-Phi Beta Lambda that recognizes and rewards excellence in a broad range of business and career-related areas. Phi Beta Lambda is the collegiate division of Future Business Leaders of America.

“Michael is meticulous, logical and organized. These personal qualities along with the solid grounding in economic theory that he got in various economics classes at Radford University laid the foundation for his success at the National Leadership Conference,” said Economics Chair and Professor Prahlad Kasturi who advised Harris and accompanied him to the conference.

Kasturi said Harris “worked hard and reviewed various approaches to economic analysis and decision-making from books, videos and case studies from different sectors of the U.S. economy. In ranking among the top 10 in the nation, he has demonstrated that preparation and diligence have huge payoffs. We are all very proud of him.”

On campus, Harris serves as vice president of Phi Beta Lambda. He is a senior analyst for the Student Managed Investment Portfolio Organization (SMIPO) and a member of the College of Business and Economics’ (COBE) Student Advisory Board.

In addition to competitions at the PBL conference, students immersed themselves in interactive workshops, visited an information-packed exhibit hall and listened to motivational keynote speakers on a broad range of business topics.

Kasturi thanked Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill and COBE Dean George Low for their support.

PBL, a postsecondary division of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), is the largest professional business association in the world, with more than 11,000 college student members and 3,000 business professionals, alumni and educators. Exclusive membership and career recognition programs are designed for each division of FBLA-PBL to provide additional personal and chapter development opportunities.

The Radford University chapter of PBL is housed within the COBE, which is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

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