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Beedie team takes home win in SFU Net Impact Sustainability Challenge

Mar 31, 2017

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The winning team, comprising Alex Novikov, Lindsay Cervenko, Yashu Mittal and Shannon Bridson

A team of Full-Time MBA students recorded a memorable win for the Beedie School of Business at the fourth annual SFU Net Impact Sustainability Challenge, overcoming strong competition in the final round from American University’s Kogod School of Business (finishing second), Oregon’s Lundquist School of Business (third) and Western’s Ivey (fourth).

Organized entirely by students in the SFU Net Impact Segal chapter, each year the Sustainability Challenge connects graduate students from across Canada and the US for two days of sustainability-focused competition and networking.

Headline sponsor of the Sustainability Challenge, FortisBC, once again provided the case to competitors two weeks ahead of the presentations, which took place on March 25. This year’s case focused on the delivery of natural gas energy to customers within First Nation communities, and invited the teams to evaluate the considerations that would need to be taken into account.

“This event is so great because, apart from being a lot of fun, we use a live case based on a real issue currently being faced by our title sponsor, FortisBC,” says Robert Hamill, Vice President of Net Impact SFU. “The case issues are complex, vague, and really test the skills of competitors. Also, the judges are all extremely knowledgeable and passionate about the issues. Students that compete gain access some really critical insight that they would not otherwise.”

The winning team, comprising Shannon Bridson, Alex Novikov, Yashu Mittal and Lindsay Cervenko were awarded the grand prize of $4,000 at the event’s closing reception, hosted by event sponsor TELUS at the TELUS Garden building, the organization’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum-rated headquarters. Their victory in the competition was the first for an SFU team. The second and third placed teams took home prizes of $2,000 and $1,000 respectively. The competition also awarded a best presenter in each of the competition rooms. Both awards went to Beedie students: Rita Hayre (Part-Time MBA) and Shannon Bridson (Full-Time MBA).

“Participating in the case challenge has been the most rewarding experience of my MBA to date,” says Shannon Bridson. “It was a fantastic opportunity to learn hands-on about the complexity behind real sustainable decision making through social, environmental, and economical lenses. It was an honor to be part of SFU’s first team to win the challenge and humbling to receive a best presenter award. I would like to thank my team for their great work and dedication, as well as the organizers for hosting such a wonderful event.”

The teams’ presentations were heard and interrogated by a group of prominent experts from industry and academia, including:

  • Stephanie Bertels, Director of the SFU Beedie Centre for Corporate Governance and Sustainability
  • Bryan Gallagher, Adjunct Professor at the Beedie School of Business
  • Uschi Hopping, Community & Aboriginal Relations Manager at FortisBC.
  • Miranda Mandarino, Chair of the Women’s Advisory Committee at the City of Vancouver
  • Benjamin Scott, Director of Business and Community Solutions with Community Power
  • Sheila Reynolds, Senior Relationship Manager, Aboriginal Relations at BC Hydro
  • Michael Allison. Manager, Corporate Communications at FortisBC.

In addition to FortisBC and TELUS, the Sustainability Challenge was also sponsored by Finning International, the CPA Center for Sustainability, the SFU Center for Corporate Governance and Sustainability, and the SFU Beedie School of Business.

For more information, please visit the Net Impact Segal Chapter website.