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Good luck to our MBA team, 1 of 5 in the Penn State-Smeal Sustainability Case Competition!

Monday, December 1, 2014

case competition

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Five teams of MBA students from programs in the U.S. will compete Dec. 5 for $17,500 in prize money in the inaugural Penn State Smeal College of Business MBA Sustainability Case Competition.

The five teams chosen as finalists — from Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business, Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, Indiana’s Kelley School of Business, Purdue’s Krannert School of Management and Penn State Smeal — will vie for top prizes of $10,000 (first place), $5,000 (second) and $2,500 (third).

Gerry Susman, Emeritus Klein Professor of Management at Smeal, wrote the case, which centers on SKF, a Swedish bearings manufacturer. He said the case competition aligns with the college’s efforts to integrate sustainability into teaching, research and outreach.

“A case competition is a recognizable way of publicizing our sustainability teaching efforts,” Susman said. “It also provides an effective way for students to analyze company sustainability as well as learn from others in their peer institutions."

Twenty nine teams representing 20 universities submitted entries. Their entries were disguised and culled anonymously to five finalists by a panel of five Smeal faculty led by Susman and including:

-- Donald Hambrick, Evan Pugh Professor and Smeal Chaired Professor of Management;

-- Raghu Garud, Alvin H. Clemens Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies, research director of the Farrell Center for Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and director of the Center for Management of Technological and Organizational Change;

-- Vilmos Misangyi, associate professor of management and organization;

-- Terry Harrison, professor of supply chain and information systems, Earl P. Strong Executive Education Professor in Business, and Faculty Director of Sustainability at Smeal;

Each team will be allotted 30 minutes for its presentation, which will be followed by 15 minutes for questions and answers by the panel of judges. Three of the judges are vice presidents at SKF, and the fourth judge is a vice president at Pepsico International.  

Teams may revise, elaborate and expand beyond what they wrote in their executive summaries. They can use additional audio-visual material beyond their PowerPoint slides.

Each team’s delivery will be judged on: a comprehensive understanding of SKF, its industry and regulatory and legislative environment; direct and thorough answers to all questions; effective use of case material to develop credible and implementable solutions; taking full advantage of its members’ resources; and the quality of materials used to accompany the presentation.

About Sustainability at Smeal

The Smeal College of Business is committed to sustainability in education, research and practice. In 2013, the college's Sustainability Strategic Plan was developed by a college task force and authorized by the dean. Sustainability is infused into courses across the Smeal curriculum, including a two-piece sequence for undergraduates and a concentration in the Penn State Smeal Master of Business Administration Program. The college also supports faculty research efforts related to business and sustainability, promotes outreach efforts through educational units and research centers, and leads by example in promoting sustainable behavior among current faculty, staff and students. For more information on sustainability efforts at Smeal, visit