Poor vision crushed Alex Eatmon’s dreams of advancing in ROTC, but the experience taught him an important lesson: Always have a backup plan.

Eatmon, who spent two years in the University of Florida’s ROTC program, dropped his goal of second lieutenant to pursue a business degree at the University of Central Florida.

His reflection on his experience and how it transformed him won him first place in the College of Business Administration’s Summer 2014 Failure Competition. The competition is open to business students taking the senior-level Capstone course, and it asks students to consider how others can learn from failure.

“This competition has allowed me the opportunity to look back and reflect on my failure and see how it has changed me to become the person I am today,” Eatmon said. “I feel as though many people shy away from their failures and possibly lose the opportunity to grow from them. I believe this competition shows students that failing is not necessarily a bad thing; that it is just a natural part of life. It is what you do after them that determine what purpose they served.”

Paul Jarley, dean of the College of Business Administration, created the competition to encourage students to become comfortable with messing up, because failure is inevitable.

“Failure is part of life,” said Jarley. “Getting comfortable with failure is a key step in becoming a better risk-taker and successful business leader. That is why the college celebrates failure and persistence.”

Eatmon’s received a letter of recommendation from Dean Jarley and $500. Second and third place winners Brittany Dill and Wadson Joseph were awarded $300 and $200, respectively.

Videos about their experiences can be viewed here.

Established in 1968, the UCF College of Business Administration offers degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and executive levels. All programs, as well as the Kenneth G. Dixon School of Accounting are accredited by AACSB International – the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

The college provides high-quality academic programs designed to give students a competitive advantage in the world of business now and in the future. As such, the college establishes partnerships with some of the nation’s most innovative leaders to model new and best practices that harness evolving technology. In addition, the college promotes a unique culture of engagement, risk-taking, cross-disciplinary collaboration and data-driven decision making in an effort to ensure students are well prepared to enter a dynamic marketplace.