NYU Stern Students Win First Place in The Aspen Institute’s 2018 Business & Society International MBA Case Competition

Photo of the three students who won the Aspen Case Competition

A team of MBA students from the NYU Stern School of Business took top place in The Aspen Institute’s 2018 Business & Society International MBA Case Competition. The Stern team, including Christopher Blackett (MBA/MPA ’19), Yen Chiang (MBA ’19), Rebecca Haverson (MBA ’19) and Sophia Valner (MBA/MPA ’20), placed first out of a total of five finalist teams.

Stern’s Business & Society Program sponsored an initial School-level case competition for Stern MBA students, and three teams competed in an on-campus judging process to make it to the next round. Stern’s Center for Sustainable Business worked with the winning team on their presentation and coached them as they were selected for the international finals hosted by The Aspen Institute.

“We are thrilled at the success of the Stern team,” said Professor Tensie Whelan, Director of Stern’s Center for Sustainable Business. “Stern’s renewed focus on sustainable business is clearly inspiring and educating the next generation of business leaders to be strategic and innovative thinkers in the sustainability field.”

Now in its ninth year, more than 1,000 students from 25 MBA programs participated in the competition. This year’s case, authored by the Yale School of Management and the National University of Singapore, focused on Marina Bay Sands (MBS), the iconic hotel and casino located in Singapore. With a keen focus on sustainability already, the MBS sustainability team sought solutions and opportunities to take its sustainability operations to the next level and ideas for how to enhance and market its green meeting packages to inspire consumer behavior change.

The winning Stern team recommended that MBS leverage Singapore’s “Garden City” brand to truly become a “Steward of the Garden City” with a renewed focus on reducing food waste, enhancing sustainable food sourcing, and deepening employee engagement through innovation challenges to help inspire transformational change. The judges indicated that they were particularly impressed by the students’ inclusion of potential risks to their proposed solutions as well as their focus on setting long- and short-term goals, thus showing that they thought through their recommendations strategically.

“The Aspen Case Competition was an incredible learning opportunity, and my peers and I were able to implement a lot of the theory and skills that we’d learned in our courses through Stern’s Center for Sustainable Business,” said Christopher. “This competition let us think through systems change in a thoughtful and aspirational way, and in doing so I realized the constraints facing many companies seeking to implement sustainable business practices aren’t as insurmountable as perhaps I once thought they were.”

Stern’s top finish complements its additional success in the 2018 Patagonia Case Competition, where a team of Stern and NYU Wagner students received honorable mention for social empowerment out of a total of 10 finalist teams. Stern previously won the Aspen Case Competition in 2013.