Schulich students win North American sustainability competition

A team of MBA students from York’s Schulich School of Business took on the challenge of helping software giant Sun Microsystems boost its bottom line by $1 billion through various eco-friendly initiatives to win a leading sustainability case competition and take home $8,000 in prize money.

The Schulich team of Matthew Cohen, Simon MacMahon, Bob Mann and Alexis Morgan beat out teams from over 50 North American schools, many of which were top-rated US schools, including the University of California at Berkeley, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Illinois and the University of Chicago, to win the seventh annual Leeds Net Impact Case Competition in February.

Right: Simon MacMahon (left), Bob Mann, Alexis Morgan and Matthew Cohen

This marks the second consecutive international sustainability case competition this Schulich team has won during the current academic year. They also placed first in the Project Pyramid Case Competition held in November at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.

A second Schulich team, consisting of Jakob Lykke, Sooganthy Nadarajah, Parikshit Ralhan and Elizabeth Wirth, also successfully qualified for the finals in the Leeds competition, making Schulich one of the best represented business schools in the event.

At last year’s Leeds Net Impact Case Competition, a Schulich team placed second overall and another Schulich team finished fifth.

Participating teams in the competition, held at the University of Colorado at Boulder, had to develop real-world business solutions that addressed the question of how Sun Microsystems could add $1 billion to its bottom line by 2012 from "green" initiatives. Teams then presented their proposals to a panel of judges consisting of corporate executives from Sun Microsystems.

The Leeds Net Impact Case Competition is the premier case format competition built around businesses facing sustainability challenges, while succeeding financially. This annual competition brings the top-rated business schools and future industry leaders to Boulder, Colorado, for a two-day event. The competition is an opportunity to bring together students, executives and businesses who share a common commitment to sustainable business practices and financial returns.