2016 Net Impact Case Competition
On February 12th and 13th, 2016 the Leeds School of Business welcomed 19 teams of MBAs from around the world to compete in the 15th Annual Net Impact Case Competition in Boulder. They created innovative solutions to a case about impact finance and presented them to 23 industry judges.
The team from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management won the competition and took home $10,000 in prize money. An international team from INSEAD took 2nd place and won $5,000, and the team from Georgia Tech's Scheller College of Business rounded out the champions in 3rd place, taking home $2,500. None of these schools had teams place in the top three last year, which is typical of this competition. The judges deliberated for more than one hour to select the winners because teams submitted so many great ideas.
MBA candidates Allie Ahearn and Amanda Leavitt wrote this year’s case in collaboration with Dr. Stephanie Gripne, the Founder and Executive Director of the title sponsor, Impact Finance Center at the University of Denver. They also worked closely with Professor Dave Payne, Net Impact’s faculty adviser. This year’s case asked teams to advise a fictional cattle company on how to best spend philanthropic dollars to generate lasting returns for investors, society and the environment.
“This is a topic where there aren’t a lot of experts, and the sponsor was very excited to see the ideas these 19 teams created,” said Elise Ferguson, Co-President of the 2016 Net Impact Case Competition.. The ideas included creating an accelerator for small companies, investing in low-interest-rate student loans for veterans to study cattle ranching and partnering with professional bull riders to help get their brand across to a new demographic.
Local companies are a great help in making the Net Impact Case Competition successful every year. Sponsors who donated food and drinks to the events include Great Divide, Fiona’s Granola, Noosa Yoghurt, Clif Bar, Upslope, Boulder Visitor Center, Justin’s, Odell Brewing, Boulder Beer and Big Daddy Bagels. That community engagement extends to industry judges who include repeat judges, new faces and even former competitors and student volunteers. One of this year’s judges competed in the first ever Net Impact Case Competition in 2001.