McDonough School of Business
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McDonough Business Strategy Challenge Gathers Students From Around the World to Forge Solutions for Social Impact

Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business celebrated the 20th Annual McDonough Business Strategy Challenge (MBSC) this spring, honoring two decades of impact with nonprofit businesses across the globe. The nonprofit case consulting competition welcomed 72 undergraduate students from five countries to the Hilltop with a shared mission to tackle real-world business challenges.

This year, the MBSC partnered with a local nonprofit charter school, the Academy of Hope. Based in Washington, D.C., the organization provides education opportunities for adults ages 18 and older, including GED preparation, vocational training, workforce development, and assistance with college and career applications. 

Under the guidance of Lecester Johnson, CEO of the Academy of Hope, MBSC participants embarked on a week-long journey of strategic brainstorming and innovative problem-solving to develop a strategy that balances the operational needs of the charter school with the long-term growth and expansion goals of the supporting foundation.

All teams had 31 hours to solve the case and upload their solutions through an online platform. They were then randomly assigned to one of four brackets and presented their solutions to a panel of judges in the preliminary round. The team with the highest average score in each bracket advanced to the final round. In this stage, the participants presented their solutions once more, and judges ranked the teams based on their performance. 

“The diversity of the MBSC fosters rich communication and learning opportunities,” said Catherine Tan (B’25), co-managing director of the event. “Participants have the opportunity to sharpen their analytical skills through a real-life consulting case and broaden their business networks through our sponsors, guest speakers, and networking sessions.”

The MBSC was supported by PNC under the leadership of D. Jermaine Johnson, regional president for greater Washington and Virginia. EY and PwC also played pivotal roles to fund the program. 

The 2024 MBSC winner is City University of Hong Kong. The Chinese University of Hong Kong took second place, followed by American University in third, and Calgary University in fourth. 

Looking ahead, Academy of Hope expressed its intent to continue collaborating with D.C.-based American University students to implement their strategies, an opportunity to enhance the community impact and reach. 

“The MBSC is critical to connecting theory and practice for business undergraduates around the world as they prepare to make critical decisions for their future employers or their own enterprise,” said Patricia Grant, senior associate dean of the undergraduate program. “We are grateful to the generous supporters, including PNC, the signature sponsor, as well as the competition leadership.”

The MBSC operates under students’ leadership in close collaboration with the Undergraduate Program Office, including Grant; Justin Smith, associate dean for strategic initiatives; Stephanie Bautista, assistant director for student development and leadership programs, and Eric Lupo, administrative coordinator. As co-managing Directors, Tan and Jude Wang (B‘25) led a team of 15 people to ensure another successful event this year.  

“MBSC emphasizes McDonough’s global education network,” said Tan. “It fosters lasting relationships with universities around the world and local nonprofits. Organizing the event allows students to learn how to develop a case challenge and manage finances for the competition. They also engage directly with sponsors, judges, and clients.”

Since 2005, the MBSC has collaborated with various nonprofit organizations to provide unique solutions that empower and inspire positive change. 

Undergraduate Program