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Fifth Annual Smeal MBA Sustainability Case Competition on tap for fall 2018

September 6, 2018

Registration is now open for the Fifth Annual Penn State Smeal College of Business MBA Sustainability Case Competition. MBA students from AACSB-accredited colleges and universities in the United States and Canada are invited to register through Sept. 14. 

Smeal is partnering with CNote, IBM, Opportunity Finance Network, PepsiCo and Verizon to sponsor the two-round competition. 

The preliminary round will consist of electronic submissions of case analyses. A panel of judges will select five teams of semifinalists that will be invited to Penn State on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 to present their cases. 

Prizes this year will be: $10,000 for first, $5,000 for second and $2,500 for third. 

The case competition is just one piece of Smeal’s college-wide commitment to advancing the ideals of sustainable business practices. 

“Our mission is about business transformation, helping innovate new models and methods for maximizing the social and environmental benefits of commerce. This represents a fundamental evolution of business education,” said Erik Foley, Smeal’s director of sustainability. 

“Students today and in the future will apply business fundamentals in new ways, to help solve some of society’s toughest problems. Our case competition is one way we encourage students to practice these new skills. They get real, contemporary business challenges from today’s most innovative companies and new ventures. 

The case this year—focused on CNote, the new award-winning social enterprise that creates financial products embedded with impact—invites students to explore the quickly growing impact investing and social finance space through the experience of one of its new entrants. CNote, founded in 2016 by two female entrepreneurs with deep backgrounds in finance, is an award-winning social enterprise providing sound returns while investing in underserved communities across America. CNote members have already committed more than $17 million in investments to communities across America. 

With strong, community-based partners, a technology-enabled platform, and a willing market, CNote has a bright future. But it faces real challenges. Despite a general interest, few in the market understand impact investing and convenience tends to trump higher ideals. How will it overcome these challenges and succeed in making finance a tool for change? 

More information and rules can be found online. Click here to register.

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