Rules and Information

The NIU Business Olympics is a day-long event hosted by NIU’s College of Business in the DeKalb campus’s Barsema Hall. Aimed at high school and community college students, the NIU Business Olympics event offers multiple business-related competitions to teams.

Teams participating in the NIUIA Valuation Challenge will select and investigate the hypothetical merger of two publicly-traded firms belonging to an assigned industry, writing a professional report in the first round and presenting their findings in the second round.  

Individuals or teams participating in the Big Idea Pitch Competition will pitch their idea for a new business to like-minded entrepreneurs, judges, and potential investors.  

As business transactions move to mobile devices, an App can be the competitive advantage a business needs to succeed.  Your team can submit a mind-blowing concept to win the prize in the Mobile App Idea Competition.

Organizations create and collect massive amounts of data. Compete in  the Accountancy Data Visualization Competition to demonstrate your skills in displaying data to provide insights that support better decisions.

Teams competing in The Million Dollar Marketing Challenge  will compete to develop an advertising strategy for a fictitious company in the food and beverage industry with a budget of $1 million. 

While teams (ranging from 1-5 members) may register for up to three competitions, they must complete this form only once.  Team composition is not required to remain constant across the competitions, but team members may not switch between teams (For example, Amanda and Cody can register for the first competition, and then Amanda, Juan, and Jordan may can register for the second competition; but Cody can’t join a different team in the second competition).  -- Direct any questions to Sarah Marsh.

Rules of the Competition

  • Students must attend a high school or community college (home-school teams are also welcome).
  • A faculty adviser per team is strongly encouraged.
  • Individuals or teams are invited to participate in up to 3 competitions. Team size cannot exceed five members.
  • Diverse team composition is encouraged.
  • Schools may have up to two competing teams for the NIUIA Valuation Challenge but an unlimited number of  teams competing in the other competitions.
  • Each competition is limited to the first 20 teams registered and approved.
  • Once a team has been approved to participate, member substitutions are prohibited. If an unusual circumstance arises, the team’s faculty advisor may contact the faculty advisor of the sponsoring COB student organization (Gina Nicolosi for the NIUIA Valuation Challenge, Sarah Marsh for the Big Idea Pitch Competition, Yipeng Liu for the Mobile App Idea Competition, Rebecca Shortridge for the Accountancy Data Visualization Competition, and Emily Cronauer for the Million Dollar Marketing Challenge).
  • Teams must be available to attend the NIU Business Olympics on Saturday April 4, 2020 in Barsema Hall on NIU’s DeKalb campus.

Important Dates

  • February 21, 2020: NIUIA Valuation Challenge registration deadline (Each competition is limited to the first 20 teams registered and approved.)
  • March 4, 2020: Registration deadline for the Big Idea Pitch Competition, Accountancy Data Visualization Competition, Million Dollar Marketing Challenge and Mobile App Idea Competition
  • March 13, 2020: NIUIA Valuation Challenge first round written report due
  • April 4, 2020: Business Olympics


  • First place:  $200/person
  • Second place:  $100/person

Although changes are not anticipated,the College of Business reserves the right to make changes to the competition/rules at any time. Should a change occur, all teams will be notified.

Contact Us

NIUIA Valuation Challenge
Gina Nicolosi, Ph.D.

Big Idea Pitch Competition
Sarah Marsh, Ph.D.

Mobile App Idea Competition
Yipeng Liu, Ph.D.

Accountancy Data Visualization Competition
Rebecca Shortridge, Ph.D.

Million Dollar Marketing Challenge
Emily Cronauer