A team of Notre Dame MBAs took first place in the Ninth Annual Leeds Net Impact Case Competition. The two-day event, held in February 2010 at the University of Colorado at Boulder, brought together students and industry leaders around a sustainability challenge.
Sixty-three MBA teams from 39 business schools entered the competition. The students made recommendations for how Xcel Energy, a Minneapolis-based public utility, could meet the dual challenges of increasing renewable energy production while promoting consumer energy conservation. Among the strategies the Mendoza students proposed was an investment in a wind facility and the expansion of a joint-venture partnership with a manufacturer of solar panels. They also promoted new billing options that offered customers lower-cost energy plans with seasonally adjusted usage limits to encourage conscientious energy consumption during peak periods.
The team chose to focus on solutions that drew on their business expertise, particularly in finance and pricing, which they thought they could best defend in their presentation before company experts.
Participants of the competition are affiliated with Net Impact, an international nonprofit association committed to advancing practices of corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship, nonprofit management, international development and environmental sustainability.