January 19, 2017
A team of four Middlebury Institute MBA students won the international Business for a Better World Case Competition in Davos, Switzerland. The final round of the competition took place January 19 in tandem with the World Economic Forum, which annually gathers hundreds of business, political, and academic leaders to discuss pressing global issues.
Teammates Ben Grimmig MBA ’17, Shannon Nolan MBA ’17, Christina Lukeman MBA ’17 and Nicholas Fisher MBA/MAIEP ‘17 beat out finalist teams from McGill University and York University, taking home $6,000 and a crystal trophy.
“The experience was incredible,” said Grimmig. “We are really appreciative of all the support we have gotten from the Institute, and happy to honor that support by bringing home a victory.”
Nolan described the group’s time in Davos as “a humbling experience.” Added Lukeman, “It was truly amazing to be in Davos with international economic and thought leaders and feel that we belonged here. The competition was fierce and we are very proud of our accomplishments!”
The Business for a Better World Case Competition is a partnership between Corporate Knights and the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto. This year teams were challenged to design a global equity portfolio that advances the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals while also maximizing returns.
The Institute team’s proposal was titled “A Purposeful Tilt” and utilized the “tilting” strategy of a well-diversified portfolio to generate impact. The team gave added weight to firms based on their proprietary financial and impact evaluation, and created a dynamic model that can be adapted to meet the specific needs of a target market. The group’s report was the result of hundreds of hours of work.
“This was an opportunity of a lifetime for the team and myself. They gave a stellar performance today,” said MBA Program Chair Sandra Dow. The team formed during the fall semester Business Competition Immersion class developed and taught by Dow and Yuwei Shi, and was co-coached by the two professors.
The win in Davos is the latest in a string of noteworthy successes for the Institute’s MBA teams. Student teams representing the Institute won The Economist case competition in 2015. Institute students took second place in the same competition in 2016 and third place in the Business for a Better World competition in 2014.
“We were all talking about how the case competitions drew us to the MBA program at MIIS to begin with,” said Fisher, “and it is great to be able to see that through. It has been incredible to experience the collaborative environment of the Institute and feeling the support from everyone.”