Sustainability-Driven Case Competitions
NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business hosts an annual, hands-on student challenge to apply their classroom learnings to real world challenges.
Applying Classroom Lessons to Real-World Challenges
At CSB, we encourage students to build on what they learn in the classroom to develop innovative business solutions that address our most difficult global challenges.
Each year, CSB hosts the Sustainable Business Pitch Competition, sponsored by Eddie Stern, challenging MBA students to leverage their studies to find solutions to sustainability issues facing our world today. The topics are selected from current topics addressed by our research, so we can provide the base knowledge, support, and mentorship for successful pitches. Previous topics include Opportunity Zones, decarbonizing the built environment, food insecurity, and more.
Additionally, CSB encourages students to participate in relevant external case competitions that similarly require students to apply their educational background to sustainability-related cases.
In recent years, NYU teams have placed in top ranking competitions such as the IFC Impact Investing Challenge, the Kellogg-Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge, and the Aspen Institute Business and Society International Case Competition.
Below find a list of upcoming and previous competitions.
Annual Case Competitions
NYU Stern CSB Sustainable Business Pitch Competition
In CSB's annual case competition, sponsored by Eddie Stern, MBA students can partner with teammates across NYU graduate schools to research a featured sustainability challenge, create data-informed and innovative solutions, and deliver persuasive presentations. All teams are provided coaching sessions with practitioners in the field and the top teams present to a panel of expert judges to compete for a cash prize.
Neuberger Berman ESG Investing Challenge: Artificial Intelligence
Students work with mentors to identify publicly listed equity investments whose business objectives are aligned with the year's ESG theme, artificial intelligence, and are expected to generate positive financial performance (as a dual objective). After an initial round, finalists present their proposals to a panel of Neuberger Berman judges who select the winning team(s), which will receive a financial prize from Neuberger Berman.
Launching Investment for Future Transformation (LIFT)
Using blended finance and impact investing to address the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), if done correctly and inclusively, can drive social equity, social justice and economic mobility for underserved communities everywhere. The Center for Sustainable Enterprise’s LIFT with Bank of America calls on students from around the world to develop blended finance and impact investing strategies for triple bottom line sustainability.
Kellogg-Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge
Every year more than 308 students from over 34 countries and 74 schools propose novel financial instruments to create positive impact. In 2020, A group of NYU Stern and Wagner graduate students took first place, having proposed an innovative new exchange-traded fund centered around companies with substantial hiring, skills development, and supply chain policies in favor of refugees.
Past Case Competitions
2023 NYU Stern Sustainable Business Pitch Competition
In the Spring 2023 NYU Stern Sustainable Business Pitch Competition, students developed the business case for Dollar General to implement retail strategies that expand the range of healthy and sustainable food products offered in its New York stores that will help address food insecurity in surrounding communities.
2022 Duke Fuqua Energy in Emerging Markets Case Competition
The 2022 contest is part of the Energy Week at Duke is organized by the MBA Energy Club at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and is sponsored by the James E. Rogers Energy Access Project at Duke. In addition to a chance to win almost $15,000 in prize money, participants will gain practical experience developing business model for this year’s industry partner, Nithio an AI-driven platform for clean energy investment.
2022 NYU Stern CSB Sustainable Business Pitch Competition
In the Spring 2022 NYU Stern Sustainable Business Pitch Competition, students competed for a $15,000 total prize purse by persuading major U.S. banks to take a more proactive role in reducing the carbon footprint of NYC’s buildings. Utilizing CSB's Carbon Compass data tool, teams developed proposals to convince banks to encourage and facilitate clean energy loans to fund energy efficiency retrofits in their lending portfolio.
2022 Neuberger Berman Biodiversity Challenge
In Fall 2022, a team of CSB's EmpowHER students including Emily Farley Chang, Deshani Gunathilake, Doris Lu, and Jesse Weiss were invited to the final round of the Nueberger Berman ESG Investing Challenge, focused on biodiversity.
2021 A4S International Case Competition
Rotman Net Impact and The Prince's Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) case topic for the A4S International Case Competition (A4SICC) 2021 was supply chain resilience. Their vision is to generate ideas that will solve sustainability challenges and create the businesses of the future.
2021 NYU Stern Sustainable Business Challenge
In the 2021 Challenge sponsored by Eddie Stern, students addressed how to leverage the private sector to produce accessible, affordable, and healthy food in NYC. The NYU Stern Sustainable Business Challenge harnesses the innovative thinking of mission-driven students to leverage the power of market-based solutions to build a better world. Open to Stern MBA students in collaboration with other NYU graduate students, the Challenge focuses on developing actionable business plans.
2020 Neuberger Berman ESG Investing Challenge
Students from NYU Stern, Columbia Business School, and Kellogg Northwestern worked with mentors to identify publicly listed equity investments whose business objectives are addressing COVID-19 related challenges and are expected to generate positive financial performance (as a dual objective).
2019 NYU Stern Opportunity Zone Challenge
Inspired by a new and highly anticipated economic development program called Opportunity Zones, the NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business challenged Stern MBA and other NYU graduate students to propose innovative and practical ways to drive sustainable development that qualify under the new regulations. There was a grand cash prize of $10,000.
2019 Aspen Institute Business and Society International Case Competition
The NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business supports students in the Aspen Business & Society Case Competition. In 2019, Stern MBA students took third place. This marked the third year in a row that Stern made it the finals, having won first place in the competition in 2018 and placing third in 2017. Stern also previously won the competition in 2013.
Patagonia Case Competition (2018)
In this annual competition, graduate students from across the US tackle the interconnected business and sustainability aspects of a current, real-life issue facing the outdoor gear retailer Patagonia. In 2018, a team of Stern and NYU Wagner students received honorable mention for social empowerment out of a total of 10 finalist teams.