NYU Stern Students Win Third Place in The Aspen Institute’s 2019 Business & Society International MBA Case Competition

Aspen Competition Winners
A team of MBA students from the NYU Stern School of Business placed third in the 2019 Aspen Business & Society International Case Competition. The team, comprised of Adam Drucker, Megan Glessman, Ben Gottesdiener and Alan Montes (all MBA 2020), placed third out of a total of five finalist teams, and 23 total teams. This marks 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.

Stern’s Business & Society Program sponsored the initial School-level case competition and two teams competed to make it to the finals. As in years past, the Center for Sustainable Business worked with the winning on-campus team to hone and refine their presentation before presenting to a team of 9 judges hosted by The Aspen Institute. “We continue to be impressed with the ingenuity and execution of Stern students and thrilled that for the third year running, Stern students have placed in the top three winning teams,” said Professor Tensie Whelan, Director of NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business.

Now in its tenth year, more than 1,000 students from 23 MBA programs participated in the competition. This year’s case, authored by the Yale School of Management, focused on the Connecticut Green Bank, the nation’s first green bank, which happens to be run by Bryan Garcia, MBA ’04. The case asked students to develop proposals for the Green Bank and its affiliated non-profit Inclusive Prosperity Capital that would allow both organizations to become financially sustainable while achieving their missions of providing clean energy and energy efficiency programs to Connecticut citizens.

“For both challenges, we analyzed the impact on the multiple stakeholders involved including the customers, contractors, capital providers and the state of Connecticut,” said Megan Glessman, MBA 2020. “We were only given 72 hours to digest the complex case and develop our recommendations, forcing us to work strategically and to take advantage of each person’s strengths.”

The Stern team’s proposal centered on integrating demand response into the Green Bank’s existing Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program for commercial properties and SMART-E Program for low and moderate income residential households. The team proposed leveraging these two existing programs to accelerate the deployment of energy management devices such as smart meters. These devices would be eligible to participate in utility demand response programs that enable utilities to save costs for ratepayers and operate more sustainably.

“This case competition connected the concepts I learned in Professor Tensie Whelan’s Sustainability for Competitive Advantage course with a concrete example of how to finance clean energy initiatives,” said Megan. “The Center for Sustainable Business helped us refine our proposal to really consider the ROSI (Return on Sustainable Investment), focusing on the financial returns demand response would add and how our recommendation could benefit all of the stakeholders.”