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Penn State Smeal MBAs Win Big in Sustainability Competition

A team of six Penn State University Smeal College of Business students recently received an award in the school’s MBA Sustainability Case Competition, which took place on the University Park campus.

Smeal has a seven-year history of integrating sustainability concepts into its MBA curriculum. The case competition is one aspect of these teaching initiatives.

According to a press release, the concept of this year’s competition involved IBM’s Corporate Environmental Affairs (CEA) department, whose “responsibilities include evaluating suppliers for recycling, treatment and disposition of hazardous wastes or product-end-of-life materials. CEA is exploring how best to manage its growing global responsibilities alone and in collaboration with companies that face similar challenges in both developed and developing countries.”

The competition, in its second year, was sponsored by IBM, SKF, Alcoa, International Paper, PepsiCo and Verizon.

Gerry Susman, Emeritus Klein Professor of Management at Smeal, said, “I think we worked out a very effective process for the first competition in 2014. The only difference this year is that it proceeded more confidently with less need to improvise once the event began.” The Smeal team was awarded $2,500 for the third place award. In first place was a team from the University of Texas at Dallas, which won $10,000; in second place was a team from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, which took home $5,000. Other finalists included teams from Dartmouth’s Tuck School and Texas Christian University.

“Four of the judges were from IBM, one was from SKF and one was from PepsiCo,” Susman continued. “I think all of the teams felt like winners, which they should since they were among five finalists selected from 28 registered teams.”

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About the Author

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Maggie Boccella

Maggie Boccella, a lifelong resident of Philadelphia, is a freelance writer, artist and photographer. She has consulted on various film and multimedia projects, and she also serves as a juror for the city's annual LGBTQIA Film Festival.

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