Schulich team places second at Rotman Net Impact CSR Case Competition

For the third consecutive year, a Schulich School of Business team at York University has placed among the top three at the annual Rotman Net Impact CSR Case Competition in January. This year’s team comprised of students Bishal Shreshtha, Sima Heyat, Srivatsan Vijayakumar and Amandeep Garg placed second overall.

A Schulich finished first overall in 2011 and 2012. The Rotman Net Impact CSR Case Competition is an opportunity for MBA students to showcase their creativity and analytical skills in the area of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Challenging, educational and fun, each year a professional and current business CSR case is presented. This year, it involved a live case with Sun Life Financial.


Schulich students Bishal Shreshtha, Sima Heyat, Srivatsan Vijayakumar and Amandeep Garg finished in second place at the Rotman/Net Impact CSR Competition on Jan. 26

“Competing in the Rotman/Net Impact CSR Case Competition and formulating a signature CSR strategy for Sun Life Financial was pretty challenging but, nonetheless, extremely rewarding,” said Shreshtha. “Sun Life provided us with a briefing video on the case and we had one week to prepare our recommended strategy. There was no ‘written’ case as such and we were very much on our own. However, we had an excellent mentor in [Schulich marketing instructor] Joe Fayt, who provided us with valuable support and guidance throughout the preparation week.”

A total of 18 teams participated in this year’s competition and two out of three Schulich teams made it to the finals, where they presented their ideas to an evaluating panel comprised of executives from a wide range of firms, social organizations and not-for-profit organizations.

“The one key take-away our team learned from this experience is: ‘Keep it as simple as possible’,” said Bishal. “As management students, we are usually tempted to use a lot of jargon and unnecessary frameworks and tools, expecting to look sophisticated in our approach, but totally missing the mark in the process. Joe gave us an extremely valuable tip for making an impactful presentation – connect with the audience; not just on an intellectual level, but also, and perhaps more importantly, on an emotional level. He said if we could achieve that within the first two minutes of the presentation, it will pretty much guarantee that we sell our idea. And it was this tip that actually helped us land second place in the competition.”

Professor of policy James Darroch, co-director of Schulich’s Financial Services Program, and instructor Mike Valente both provided faculty support. Case team alumni Steffen Kramer and Rafal Smerd helped the team prepare.

For more information, visit the Rotman Net Impact CSR Case Competition website.