University of Pittsburgh

Pitt PBL Students Earn National Recognition

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Five students from the University of Pittsburgh College of Business Administration Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) student business organization traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to connect with top future business leaders and showcase their talents during the 2016 Phi Beta Lambda National Leadership Conference.

Pitt Business students Alex Thornton, Brandon Ruzicka-Butz, Sarah Stonebraker, Katie Dunkelberger, and Daniel Vater received top honors and national recognition for their performance during the conference’s business-related competitive events.  

PBL is an undergraduate professional development organization that focuses on bringing business and education together.  Students gain innovative leadership skills and participate in career development programs, and during the conference participate in interactive workshops and listen to motivational keynotes speaking on a broad range of business topics.  

Thornton serves as President of Pitt PBL and is responsible for overseeing the overall operations of the organization and managing the Leadership Team. “In order to qualify for the National Leadership Conference, each competitor must have finished in first or second place at the State Leadership Conference which was held in April. Only the top competitors from every state are eligible for nationals,” Thornton explained.

Once qualified for the NLC, each student is placed in one or two competitive events. Each of these events has a specific focus and consists of two rounds. First, every student must participate in an online 100 question objective test on concepts related to the topic. The top performers in each event move on to the final round: a 20 minute case study presentation before a panel of judges. 

Thornton placed second in the Accounting Analysis and Decision Making event and placed fourth in the Economic Analysis and Decision Making event; Ruzicka-Butz placed second in the Hospitality Management event; Stonebraker and Dunkelberger competed as a team placed  eighth in the Financial Analysis and Decision Making event; and Vater placed ninth in the Microeconomics event.

“Pitt PBL has participated in NLC since 2007, and I’m proud to add to the organization’s stong showing throughout the years. This year, we were also recognized for our tremendous fundraising efforts and won the top fundraiser award for PBL’s national philanthropy March of Dimes,” Thornton says.

“This award is a result of all our charitable work throughout the year, especially our annual Dinner for Dimes which raised $4,500 last year. It is a tremendous honor to be recognized for having raised the most money of any chapter in the country,” says Thornton.

Student organizations help students develop networking skills, professional experience, leadership skills, and much more. Visit for a complete list of the organizations and honor societies available to Pitt Business students.