UConn Grabs Second-Place In Sustainability Case Competition


The 2019 MBA Sustainability Case Competition, organized by the UConn’s Net Impact Graduate Chapter, took place earlier this month, with teams from seven U.S. colleges vying for $5,000 in awards and championship bragging rights.

The UConn team of Donald Pendagast, Abby Guo and Rahul Sinha, all MBA students, took second place. Guo was also recognized as the best presenter at the competition.

Students from the University of Georgia netted first place; Purdue University took third, and the University of Buffalo was also among the top finalists. Other participants included UMass, University of New Haven and Bard College.

“The event was very well executed and the competing teams were friendly and good-natured throughout the event,” Pendagast said.

UConn Filling a Competition Void

Net Impact is an organization that strives to empower a generation to drive social and environmental change throughout their careers. The UConn Net Impact Graduate Chapter, now in its third year, created the contest after recognizing the shortage of competitions in Connecticut devoted to sustainability initiatives.

The teams were tasked with understanding Cigna’s stakeholders and identifying the top three that would be most impacted by the implementation of a new supply-chain sustainability plan. Then the team was asked to make the business case for such a plan, keeping in mind its impact. Participants had one week to prepare and 20 minutes to present to a panel of four judges.

The teams, composed of MBA and other grad students, competed at the GBLC in Hartford. The event was also sponsored by UConn’s Center for International Business Education and Research, in partnership with the Connecticut Sustainable Business Council.

Among those in attendance were David Souder, interim Dean, Mary Tullis Engwall, senior director of Corporate Responsibility at Cigna, Chandni Narang, UConn Net Impact president and Franz Oliveira, former president. The April 11-12 competition included a gala opening reception, by Robinson & Cole at the Gershon Fox Ballroom.

Judges commented on the enthusiasm of the teams and the social conscience exhibited by future leaders.

“It was encouraging to see the UConn Net Impact Graduate Chapter pick up where last year’s leadership team left off – and to see the MBA Sustainability Case Competition continue to be successful,” said Ryan Baldassario, MBA program adviser. “As the competition continues to evolve from year to year, we are hopeful that we are able to garner interest and registration from an even more diverse pool.”