SFU Beedie MBAs net podium finish at World Economic Forum

Jan 27, 2015
World Economic Forum

(From left to right) Beedie School of Business Business MBA students Shaun McPhee, Lisa Leong, Kate Dearness, and Adrian Mitescu competed at the World Economic Forum 2015 Annual Meeting.

A team of MBA students from the Beedie School of Business showcased their knowledge of sustainability at the 2015 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, earning the silver medal at the Business for a Better World case competition.

The Business for a Better World case competition is an international MBA competition delivered in partnership by York University’s Schulich School of Business and media organization Corporate Knights.

Competing teams were tasked with creating a sustainability-driven business plan for multinational pharmaceutical company Novartis that would boost the company’s standing on the Corporate Knights Global 100 ranking, allowing it to surpass its industry peers on sustainability performance.

After success in the first two rounds the Beedie team, MBA students Kate Dearness, Lisa Leong, Shaun McPhee, and Adrian Mitescu, was selected as one of three finalists to present at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting.

The team presented their case in front of a panel of industry judges including Novartis’ Chief Ethics, Compliance and Policy Officer, and the CEO and Publisher of Corporate Knights. The team narrowly missed out on top spot and earned $3,000 for their second placed finish.

“It was surreal to read stories in the media about the World Economic Forum in the weeks leading up to it, knowing that we would be participating in the same global event as these world leaders,” says McPhee. “We are very grateful for the support the Beedie School provided us, and in particular Dr. Stephanie Bertels, who took the time during her sabbatical year to advise us.”

Coached by Beedie Associate Professor Stephanie Bertels, the team opted to take a balanced approach to the case, examining not only the Key Performance Indicators the case required, but also Novartis’ own materiality assessments. Their case included recommendations on water management, innovating research and development, expanding leadership diversity, and tying executive compensation to ethics, and received positive feedback from the judges for its unorthodox approach to the analysis.

“We are extremely proud of our MBA team for their performance at Davos,” says Blaize Horner Reich, Dean of the Beedie School of Business. “Our faculty has research and teaching strengths in corporate sustainability and these students are wonderful ambassadors for us.”

The World Economic Forum, held in Davos, Switzerland from 21 to 24 January, convenes global leaders from across business, government, international organizations, academia and civil society for strategic dialogues about the key transformations reshaping the world.

For more information on sustainability at the Beedie School of Business, visit https://beedie.sfu.ca/engaged/sustainability/

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