A four-person team of second-year UST MBA students won first place in a national Net Impact competition designed to challenge teams to analyze and propose business solutions for Integrated Packaging Corporation. The UST MBA team – Bill Grau , Kelsey Luers, Sean Elder and Hans Strommen – was one of five teams presenting its analysis at the 2010 Net Impact Conference, October 29-30, at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.
The case competition, “Pioneer Employer Case Competition: Raising Wages, Increasing Profits,” was sponsored by Net Impact and the Hitachi Foundation. It focused on the story of Al Fuller, the co-founder of Integrated Packaging Corporation (IPC), who dramatically improved the standard of living for his employees while also turning his company’s fortunes around. In addition to the case analysis, the competition required students to work with MBA faculty and administrations to incorporate cases on pioneering employers into their MBA programs.
The competition had 29 participants in the first round, of which five finalists were selected. The finalists, who presented their analyses to Mr. Fuller himself, included the University of St. Thomas, the University of Arizona, Drexel University (two teams) and the University of Michigan. The St Thomas team won $5000 with the first place honors.
As part of the curriculum change proposal portion of the competition, the UST MBA team secured support from Dean Christopher Puto as well as each member of the full-time faculty.
Bill Grau, one member of the team noted that “The level of support we received distinguished us from the other teams in the competition….This competition stretched our thinking in a number of ways. Having the opportunity to present directly to Mr. Fuller made the work we were doing feel more tangible than the typical case analysis we do for classes. The curriculum change portion of the competition has enabled us to have a distinct and lasting impact upon the program here at St. Thomas. The entire process was a very real and practical exercise in business analysis, change management and team leadership. “
Net Impact (http://www.netimpact.org/index.cfm) is an international nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire, educate and equip individuals to use the power of business to create a more socially and environmentally sustainable world. For more information about the Opus College of Business chapter of Net Impact, visit http://www.stthomas.edu/business/degrees/clubs/netimpactclub.html.
Article By: Bill Grau