Making the business case for sustainability through teaching, research, and outreach.

Fourth Annual Smeal MBA Sustainability Case Competition

Smeal College of Business in partnership with PepsiCo, IBM, SKF, Verizon, and Opportunity Finance Network are pleased to announce the Fourth MBA Sustainability Case Competition for Fall 2017.  The competition will consist of two rounds.  The preliminary round will consist of electronic submissions of a case analyses.  A panel of judges will select five semi-finalist teams who will be invited to Penn State to present their cases for first ($10,000), second ($5,000) and third place ($2,500) prizes on November 30 through December 1st.  (See a complete set of rules, processes and dates below.)

Logo for Pepsico

The Case this year—focused on PepsiCo—goes behind the scenes to explore what it will really take for large, multinational companies to aggressively reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions:   perhaps the largest change management effort ever undertaken by industry.  Two-thirds of Fortune 100 and almost half of Fortune 500 companies have established renewable energy targets. And Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts $10.2 trillion will be invested in new power generation capacity globally by 2040. Of this, 72% will be in renewables, approximately $7.4 trillion. However, this isn't simply a technological challenge. How can an entire enterprise establish and execute against clean energy and GHG reduction goals that require buy-in from everyone?

The Rules 


  • Open to teams from any AACSB or EQUIS accredited MBA program in the U.S. and Canada.  (If other accreditation, please contact our office through Erik Foley, Director of Sustainability,
  • A maximum of two teams per MBA program.
  • Teams may consist of four or five members.
  • At least three members on each team must be an MBA student.
  • No substitutions of players are allowed after the registration deadline.
  • Registration will begin on Wednesday, August 23, 2017 and ends on Friday, September 15, 2017 by 4:00 p.m. EST. 


  • There is a $100 USD registration fee per team.
  • Payment is not required at time of registration but will be due prior to Tuesday, September 19, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. EST.

The Process

Round One

  • The case will be available to registered MBA teams on Wednesday, September 20, 2017.
  • No substitution of players are allowed after registration.
  • The preliminary round will consist of electronic submissions of case analyses by Monday, October 2, 2017 by noon, 12:00 EST.
  • A panel of judges will select five teams to be finalists and announce the results on Monday, October 23, 2017. 

Submission Criteria

   1. PowerPoint summary of the case analysis

            a.  Maximum of ten slides

            b.  Presentation font must be a reasonable font size

            c.  No personal identifying (school or individual) information in text or document name 

    2. One-page Executive Summary

            a.  Single spacing

            b.  Must use 1/2" to 1" margins

            c.  Text size: no smaller than 11 point

            d.  No personal identifying (school or individual) information in text or document name.

MBA team finalist presenting team case before judges. Third Annual Smeal MBA Sustainability Case Competition, University Park, PA. Fall 2016.Round Two

  • Teams will travel to University Park, PA for the final round held on Thursday, November 30, 2017 - Friday, December 1, 2017.  Smeal College will cover expenses for lodging meals while finalists are on campus.  Finalists will be responsible for their own travel expenses.
  • Finalists may use any audio-visual medium (including but not limited to PowerPoint slides) to supplement their oral presentation.
  • Teams will make their presentations to a panel of judges.
  • Teams will compete for first ($10,000), second ($5,000) and third place ($2,500) prizes.


At-A-Glance Dates

EventDay of WeekDateTime EST
Registration Begins Wednesday August 23, 2017
Registration Ends Friday September 15, 2017 4:00 p.m. EST
Fee Due - prior to: Tuesday September 19, 2017 5:00 p.m. EST
Case will be available Wednesday September 20, 2017
Round 1 - Submission of Case Monday October 2, 2017 Noon, 12:00 p.m. EST
Finalists Announced Monday October 23, 2017

Opening Dinner --

University Park, PA

Thursday November 30, 2017 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Round 2 - Breakfast & Opening

Live Presentations

Awards & Dinner Banquet

Friday December 1, 2017

7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

For further information email: Erik Foley, Director of Sustainability,