Smithville local takes big win

Robert Schwind (center front) of Smithville competed during a Future Business Leaders of America national competition in San Antonio and took first in the flagship category, Future Business Leader. The only other Missouri student to place in the top 10 of that category was a student from Clever High School, located southwest of Springfield; Catherine Henson placed eighth.

SMITHVILLE — With nine Warriors attending National Future Business Leaders of America competition in San Antonio over the summer, one local student came home No. 1.

“Our chapter also received 12th in the nation for our display of the American Enterprise System at our Green Tie Affair,” Smithville FBLA Advisor Shril Nichols said.

Robert Schwind won Future Business Leader, the marquee award, at the national competition.

The event was open to international competitors, Schwind said, including students from all 50 states, national territories, China and six other countries.

The full event consists of thousands of students competing in 72 categories, the final being Future Business Leader. First, they all take a test, Schwind said. Those scoring high enough proceed to preliminary competition leading them to interviews.

A three-judge panel uses a rating sheet with several requirements and four possible scores depending on the strength of each requirement. Each interviewee was provided 10 minutes to answer questions and provide information without being asked directly.

“So some things you need to be sure to cover without being asked,” Schwind said. “That includes things like how has FBLA impacted you outside of school and outside of the organization? How has it impacted your career aspirations? Name three important leadership opportunities you’ve had with the organization.”

According to the FBLA website, 15 finalists or an equal number from each group in preliminary rounds advance to the final round.

The final component, Schwind said, is a written submission including a resume and cover letter.

As the category Future Business Leader is a combination of skills from the other 71 categories, Schwind said information on a resume should reflect what experience the student has and why they deserve the national title.

“That’s why I wanted to compete in that category this year,” Schwind said. “I feel like I’m well rounded; I felt like I had enough experience to be able to compete in that category. Thankfully, that intuition, it worked out pretty well.”

What put him above the rest, he added, were his experiences.

“That is directly attributed to my advisor, Shirl Nichols,” Schwind said. “I just had so much background to talk about and to share with the judges that they were really impressed.”

Schwind said the Smithville FBLA students had started many chapter events.

“The Green Tie Affair, the Warrior Closet, Swag in a Bag, Worlds on Wheels. All of these are really great to hear for the judges,” he said.

Bringing home first his senior year meant a lot to Schwind, he said. It was his second time going to nationals with FBLA, the first time being two years ago as a sophomore, when the team took sixth place in Emerging Business Issues. At that time, it was the highest Smithville had ranked in nationals.

“It’s really nice to come back with first place my senior year, it’s something I am very proud of,” Schwind said. “My advisor is really happy too.”

Northwest Editor Sean Roberts can be reached at or 389-6606.

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