2016 Smeal MBA Sustainability Case Competition

The Smeal College of Business is in its eighth year of integrating sustainability into its teaching, research and outreach missions. The MBA sustainability case competition is one of its recent teaching initiatives.

Developing the ability of students to make a compelling business case for integrating sustainability into a company’s operations, products, or governance is essential to Smeal’s approach to teaching sustainability. This approach is strongly endorsed by the Smeal Sustainability Advisory Board that consists of representatives from companies with distinguished sustainability records, including membership in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. One of these companies, Verizon, will be the subject of a case that is being written specifically for this competition.

IBM, SKF, Alcoa, International Paper, PepsiCo, and Verizon are sponsors of the Third Smeal MBA Sustainability Case Competition.

The following teams were invited to Penn State for the Third Annual MBA Sustainability Case Competition to compete for first ($10,000), second ($5,000) and third place ($2,500) prizes.

  • Carnegie Mellon University - Tepper School of Business
  • Cornell University - The Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management
  • Georgetown University - The McDonough School of Business
  • The Pennsylvania State University - Smeal College of Business
  • University of Notre Dame - Mendoza College of Business

The case setting is Verizon’s Global Supply Chain Operations, which is concerned that severe weather events are increasing in frequency and severity, especially in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states where Verizon has its largest customer base. Verizon personnel have learned much recently about reacting promptly and effectively to imminent weather threats, but now think that they must develop a comprehensive resiliency and recovery plan to deal with ever-increasing climate impacts.

Results Announcement of the 2016 MBA Sustainability Case Competition:

Cornell University won the $10,000 prize for first place. Smeal walked away with $5,000 for finishing second. Georgetown University was awarded $2,500 for third place. Teams from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Notre Dame were the other finalists.

First-place team

A student team from the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University, earns first place at the 2016 Smeal College of Business MBA Sustainability Case Competition on Dec. 2, 2016. From left, Gerry Susman, Heather Ahmad, Lauren Dowler, Kristina Koepke, Crosby Fish, Mandi Fried and Jim Gowen, chief sustainability officer and vice president of supply chain operations for Verizon.

 

 

Second-place team

A student team from the Smeal College of Business, Penn State University, earns second place at the 2016 Smeal College of Business MBA Sustainability Case Competition. The event was held in the Business Building at University Park, Pa. From left, Gerry Susman, Alexandra Murr, Zahidul Zakaria, Justin Richards, John Brodie and Jim Gowen, chief sustainability officer and vice president of supply chain operations for Verizon.

 

 

Third-place team

A student team from the McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University, earns third place at the 2016 Smeal College of Business MBA Sustainability Case Competition. Twenty-eight teams from 19 universities competed for a chance to present their case at Penn State. From left, Gerry Susman, Erika Studt, Nicholas Lamp, Gabe Nelson, Barret Mueller, Madeleine Stokes and Jim Gowen, chief sustainability officer and vice president of supply chain operations for Verizon.

 

Finalist

A student team from the Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame, placed as a finalist at the 2016 Smeal College of Business MBA Sustainability Case Competition. Each team was allotted 30 minutes to present followed by 15 minutes of questions and answers from a panel of four judges. From left, Gerry Susman, Pravin Balasundaram, Priyanka Satpati, Jyothsna Kakarwada, Estela Luck, Ajay Prabhakar and Jim Gowen, chief sustainability officer and vice president of supply chain operations for Verizon.

 

Finalist

A student team from the Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, placed as a finalist at the 2016 Smeal College of Business MBA Sustainability Case Competition. IBM, SKF, Alcoa, International Paper, PepsiCo and Verizon sponsored the competition. From left, Gerry Susman, Raj Sharma, Derek Jackman, Paresh Khatwani, Anna Lawrence and Jim Gowen, chief fsustainability officer and vice president of supply chain operations for Verizon.