Schulich students in global top 10 in social challenge competition

Students from the Schulich School of Business competing in the Hult Global Case Challenge online competition have finished in sixth place out of 50 teams competing worldwide.

Profitable Partners for Water, the entry by MBA students Purnendu Nayak, Abhyudai Dixit, Bibhu Mohapatra and Venkat Subramanian Somasundaram, and International MBA student Shehzia Valiulla, received more than 2,000 votes (estimated) from individuals in 31 countries, including Canada, India, the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom, with voting ending on March 28.

 From left, Abhyudai Dixit, Bibhu Mohapatra, Purnendu Nayak, Shehzia Valiulla and Venkat Subramanian Somasundaram
Above: From left, Abhyudai Dixit, Bibhu Mohapatra, Purnendu Nayak, Shehzia Valiulla and Venkat Subramanian Somasundaram

The Hult Global Case Challenge (HGCC) asks business school students from around the world to focus on solving one of the world’s key social challenges. This year, Hult partnered with the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an organization created by former US President Bill Clinton to turn ideas into action, and fellow CGI member, an organization co-founded by Gary White and American actor Matt Damon, to tackle one of the world’s most pressing social issues – the global clean water crisis.

“The idea behind Profitable Partners for Water was to incentivize and attract capital and local companies by creating profitable business units under,” explained Schulich team member Venkat Subramanian Somasundaram. “One business unit would provide safe water and sanitation. The second would consult with companies on water conservation.”

The online component was initiated this year for the first time after the HGCC received an overwhelming number of entrants for the physical events worldwide. The virtual competition allowed followers to vote for the best solution via Facebook. Judging was based on the following criteria: number of “Likes” and hits for video entry, overall presentation, innovative idea and actionable solution.

“We are happy we had the opportunity not only to represent Schulich in a social cause where we finished in the global top 10, but also to spread the message about the critical need for delivering safe water and sanitation to the world’s poorest,” said Somasundaram.

The regional finals of the HGCC competition were held simultaneously across each of Hult’s five campuses – Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai – on March 5. The online winner will now join the five regional winners at the Global Final in New York City on April 28. Co-hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative, one team’s solution will be selected by a world-class panel of business executive judges and a US$1-million prize will be awarded to accelerate access to clean water and sanitation.