Four Georgetown McDonough MBA students took home first place, and the accompanying $12,000 prize, at the annual U.S. Chamber of Commerce MBA Case Competition. The team of Adam Bender (MBA’20), Jason Hitch (MBA’21), Adachi Keisuke (MBA’20), and Mary Kleva (MBA’20) placed first out of 74 total teams from 41 business schools at the competition’s final round on Nov. 30.
Teams were tasked with choosing a location for the second headquarters of a fictional manufacturing company, Ellis Industrial, in transition from an agricultural equipment company to a technology agriculture firm. Georgetown’s team settled on Raleigh, North Carolina.
In their presentation, the team addressed the question of why a business can matter to a community, emphasizing the mutual benefits that can derive from the partnership. They argued that Raleigh would stand to gain not just jobs but also social capital from hosting the high-tech agricultural firm, while Ellis Industrial would have access to both financial incentives as well as the talent pool of the Research Triangle for new employees.
For Kleva, the opportunity to think of innovative ways to design this partnership was a highlight of the competition. "The competition was an engaging way to show how businesses can bring meaningful, long-term improvements to a community while also driving their own corporate growth,” she said. “I was excited to join a network of individuals who are enthusiastic about the potential of cross-sector collaboration and corporate social impact."
The team laid out several proposals for community-building in their presentation. They recommended sponsoring a fellowship at North Carolina State University, providing financial support for the North Carolina State Fair, and contributing to a fund for hurricane relief as ways for Ellis Industrial to engage responsibly with the local community.
The Georgetown students appreciated the realistic edge to this year’s competition. "This competition was a great opportunity to apply strategic decision making to what could easily be a real-world situation, and forced me to more directly consider the impact business has in community and the importance of being good partners,” Hitch said.
Hall Wang (MBA/MPP’19), vice president of the MBA Business and Government Alliance club, served as the coach. “I'm excited to have recruited a talented team of hard-working innovators that demonstrate the pinnacle of collaborative excellence. It was a delight to support them along the way and watch them conduct amazing work, representing the Georgetown community well,” he said.