MBAs push Singapore hotels to go green with winning business pitch

Jul 08, 2011

A team of four MBA students from Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business has developed a project plan that has not only garnered top billing in a prestigious international competition – it could leave a lasting environmental impact on the dynamic Asian economy of Singapore.

SFU graduate business students Kathleen Williams, Peter Konefal, Eva Tidlund and Connie Chang were selected from a global field in the Graduate School Projects@Singapore competition. The team’s faculty adviser is David Hannah, Academic Director of the MBA program.

Their project proposal, which has now been accepted by Contact Singapore, an alliance of the Singapore Economic Development Board and Ministry of Manpower, is focused on integrating corporate social responsibility (CSR) and environmental standards in Singapore’s booming hotel industry. This is the first time a Canada-based team has been selected in the program.

“Connie, Eva, Kathleen, and Peter took the initiative to enter this competition, and they wrote a winning proposal while carrying a full course load in our full-time MBA program,” said Hannah. “We want our graduates to be great thinkers and communicators, and to be motivated to solve challenging problems. Needless to say, these students exemplify these qualities, and we’re very proud of them.”

The students will travel to Singapore this September to meet with stakeholder groups from government and industry, and to conduct field interviews and research. Stephanie Bertels, Assistant Professor at the Beedie School of Business, will provide guidance for their research. The team’s findings will be presented to Singapore government officials later that month.

They note that the Singaporean hotel industry was selected as a focus in their project because of its economic prominence, making up a significant four percent of the nation’s annual gross domestic product. “Hotels have the potential to be influential corporate hosts to international business and leisure travelers,” they argued. “Positive environmental practices… are noticed by hotel guests, and in turn have the potential for wide-reaching effects such as setting new industry expectations.”

The Graduate School Projects@Singapore program offers graduate students from all disciplines globally the opportunity to create a project that could impact the Singapore economy.

Using the vibrant Southeast Asia city-state as a focal point for study, participants demonstrate their knowledge of industry sectors and businesses in Singapore, by translating them into insightful research findings, creative ideas or products. Projects may cover any of the key growth industry sectors in Singapore, such as biotechnology, clean energy, tourism, finance, oil and gas, and electronics.