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Aspen Institute's 2015 Business & Society International MBA Case Competition

This spring more than 1,000 students at 25 business schools will tackle a brand new case study, authored by the Yale School of Management, requiring innovative thinking at the intersection of corporate profitability and positive social and environmental impact. As a student participant, you will step into a real-life, time-sensitive scenario demanding integrative decision-making — not unlike the challenges that you and your teammates will face as next generation business leaders.

The Aspen Institute's MBA Case Competition offers a meaningful opportunity for reflection on the significant and positive influence that a well-managed business can have in society.

For more information please visit the the official website of the Aspen Institute's 2015 Business & Society International MBA Case Competition.

The Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute Center for Business Education (Aspen CBE) equips business leaders for the 21st century with the vision and knowledge to integrate corporate profitability and social value. We help business educators incorporate issues of social and environmental stewardship into teaching and research by offering targeted resources, networks, and a platform to share cutting-edge practice among peers.As part of the Aspen Institute Business and Society Program, Aspen CBE maintains close ties with over 150 MBA programs in 28 countries. Our websites draw over 100,000 visits monthly. Through dialogue and path-breaking research, the Program creates opportunity for executives and educators to explore new pathways to sustainability and values-based leadership.

The Aspen Institute mission is two-fold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues.

Case Competition Structure

The Aspen Institute's 2015 Business & Society International MBA Case Competition is structured in three rounds.Round One
The newly-authored case study is released to students and each of the 25 participating schools hosts an on-campus competition.Participating business schools generate excitement about the competition on campus and encourage student teams to sign up. Aspen assists by creating marketing collateral for campus use.
In the past, schools have had anywhere from 2 to 25 on-campus teams, consisting of 3 or 4 students per team.
A new business case study is made available to all student teams at 12:00 pm local time on Friday, March 20. The case study is written at a university whose students do not participate in that year's competition. The case study has never been distributed, published or taught prior to the competition to assure fairness.
To accommodate the academic calendars of all of our participating schools, schools may choose any 72 hour period from March 20-30 during which students can tackle the case study. The weekends of March 20-23 or 27-30 are recommended.
Schools are responsible for designing a process for fairly judging the student team responses on their campus. For example, some schools choose faculty judges, some organize alumni judging panels, and some allow student clubs, such as a Net Impact chapter, to orchestrate the judging.
By 5:00 pm local time on Thursday, April 2 schools provide to the Aspen Institute the winning team's response to the case.
All first place campus teams will receive recognition on the website of the 2015 Business & Society International MBA Case Competition and a trophy recognizing their accomplishment. Schools may separately recognize their student participants in additional ways and commonly do.Round Two
A panel of academic advisors to the Aspen Institute reviews all written responses by the 25 first place on-campus teams. This review will take place from April 2-8.All written responses will be stripped of school name and made entirely anonymous to assure an unbiased review.
Responses will be assessed quantitatively in a number of categories, including clarity, creativity and thoroughness in responding to all questions posed in the case study. These marks will be summed for all advisors, combined, and then the responses will be ranked by point total. Prior to declaring the top five point-earners as that year's finalist teams, the judges must come to a consensus on the finalist teams during a conference call.
The top 5 student teams will be notified immediately and transportation arrangements will be made for them to attend the final round of the case competition, scheduled for April 16-17, in New York City. Teams ranked 6-10 will be recognized as honorable mentions on the competition website.Round Three
On April 16-17, the 5 finalist teams will present their ideas – through both their previously written submission for Round One as well as a newly created PowerPoint presentation – to a panel of esteemed judges, representing industry, academia and the social sector.The Aspen Institute's 2015 Business & Society International MBA Case Competition prize purse totals $46,250. In addition to commemorative trophies, finalists in Round Three will receive:

First Place (Grand Prize) - $15,000
Second Place - $7,500
Third Place - $5,000
Fourth Place - $2,500
Fifth Place - $1,250
The inaugural BNY Mellon Social Finance Prize will recognize one student team with a $15,000 award.
Primary transportation to New York City (e.g., economy-class flight) and hotel accommodations for finalist students will be arranged by the Aspen Institute, and paid for up to $1,200 per student.

Case Competition Rules

Student Teams


All teams must consist of either 3 or 4 students.
Every team member must attend the educational institution that signed on for the competition.
For teams of four, at least three of the students must be MBA students; for teams of three, at least two of the students must be MBA students. One student on each team may be a masters-level graduate student in a similar course of study (e.g., M.Sc. in Management).
Teams may include any combination of part-time and full-time students.
Teams may have no more than one executive MBA student participant.

Written Responses


Student teams may submit only one final response to the case study, which should address all questions asked.
The written response must be submitted in Microsoft Word format.
The response must have reasonable spacing and font size.
The response must not exceed six pages of text, with two additional pages in charts, graphs or exhibits.
First place on-campus responses from Round One must be submitted to the Aspen Institute in English for Round Two review.
Students may not solicit assistance from faculty; however, student teams that reach the finals (Round Three) may integrate any feedback received in the on-campus competition (Round One) into their final PowerPoint presentations in New York. To be clear, student teams may not alter their written responses from Round One at any time during the remainder of the competition.
During Rounds Two and Three, all student submissions will be stripped of school names and made entirely anonymous to assure fairness. Finalist teams should not announce school affiliations in their presentations nor list school names in their PowerPoint slides.

Timeline & Process


Visit the process page for more information.

Round Three


The presentation order will be selected at random.
The presentation must be given in English.
Each team will be given just ten minutes to present in Round Three, followed by up to five minutes of questions from the judges. Time limits will be strictly enforced.
Slide decks will be printed out and distributed in advance to each of the judges. No supplemental handouts may be distributed to judges.
In Round Three, the judging panel will consider both the written analysis and oral presentation when determining winners.

Prizes


Each first place team in Round One will receive a trophy and recognition on the 2015 Business & Society International MBA Case Competition website.
In addition to commemorative trophies, finalists in Round Three will receive:

First Place (Grand Prize) - $15,000
Second Place - $7,500
Third Place - $5,000
Fourth Place - $2,500
Fifth Place - $1,250
The inaugural BNY Mellon Social Finance Prize will recognize one student team with a $15,000 award.
Primary transportation to New York City (e.g., economy-class flight) and hotel accommodations for finalist students will be arranged by the Aspen Institute, and paid for up to $1,200 per student.

Other Aspen Institute Programs


The 2015 Business & Society International MBA Case Competition in no way influences or is biased by other Aspen Institute programs or projects.