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Record number of teams register for 4th Annual Smeal MBA Sustainability Case Competition

September 26, 2017

The 4th Annual Penn State Smeal College of Business MBA Sustainability Case Competition has drawn the most interest since its inception in 2014. 

A record number of 46 teams from 27 schools, also a record number, have committed to compete for five coveted semifinalist positions and a chance to win a top prize of $10,000. 

Two teams registered from each of the following schools: Arizona, Arizona State, Bradley, Buffalo, Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Duquesne, Fordham, Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Indiana, McGill, MIT, North Carolina, Penn State Smeal, Southern Methodist, Temple, Washington, Wisconsin, and York. 

One team will represent each of the following schools: George Washington, Iowa, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Southern Cal, Texas Christian, and Virginia. 

“I’m excited that so many teams from such reputable universities have chosen to participate,” said Erik Foley, Smeal’s director of sustainability. “Past teams have told us they found our cases to present the kind of challenges they like to tackle.” 

This year’s case, which Foley wrote, addresses the change management and organizational development implications of companies’ ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals. The focus of the case is PepsiCo and its new Performance with Purpose 2025 Agenda. It will challenge students to work at the convergence of science, business, policy, and leadership. 

Foley is one of the distinguished group of faculty that Smeal has assembled to review submissions. Others include: 

  • Paul Shrivastava, Penn State chief sustainability officer, director of the Penn State Sustainability Institute, and professor in management and organization
  • Gerald Susman, director emeritus of the Smeal Sustainability Council and Klein Professor Emeritus of Management
  • Terry Harrison, professor of supply chain and information systems and Earl P. Strong Executive Education Professor in Business
  • Linda Treviño, distinguished professor of organizational behavior and ethics and director of the Shoemaker Program in Business Ethics
  • Donald Hambrick, Evan Pugh University Professor and Smeal Chaired Professor of Management 

“We have assembled some of the world’s renowned thought leaders in their chosen disciplines,” Foley said. “Paul is new to Penn State and I’m excited to introduce him to our other judges [Office1] and have him witness first-hand Smeal’s commitment to business sustainability.” 

Each team will submit its case analysis by noon Oct. 2; semifinalists will be announced on Oct. 23. The final five teams selected will assemble Dec. 1 in the Business Building to present their case analyses to a panel of judges. 

Those judges include: Jim Gowen, vice president of global supply chain at Verizon; Carl Pfleger, vice president of manufacturing at PepsiCo; and Al Halvorsen, senior director of environmental sustainability at PepsiCo.

About Sustainability at Smeal
The Smeal College of Business is committed to sustainability in education, research, and practice. In 2013, the college's Sustainability Strategic Plan was developed by a college task force and authorized by the dean. Sustainability is infused into courses across the Smeal curriculum, including a two-piece sequence for undergraduates and a concentration in the Penn State Smeal MBA Program. The college also supports faculty research efforts related to business and sustainability, promotes outreach efforts through educational units and research centers, and leads by example in promoting sustainable behavior among current faculty, staff, and students. For more information on sustainability efforts at Smeal, visit the Smeal Sustainability Council's website at www.smeal.psu.edu/research/sustainability-council.

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