March 2, 2021

In Matters of Sustainability, This Smith Team Is Tops

When it comes to determining the sustainability of an investment, these four Maryland Smith students are tough to beat.

The team of undergraduate seniors – Ajay Shankar (finance and information systems), Faben Henok (OMBA and SCM with a minor in technology entrepreneurship), Josh Chen (economics and minor in business analytics), and Alex Leipold (marketing and OMBA) – recently won first place honors in the Milgard Invitation Case Competition on Social Responsibility, garnering the coveted first place title and a $1,000 cash prize per student.

The team competed against teams from 19 other universities, representing 11 different countries across six continents, in examining Carnival Corp and determining whether it would be a sustainable investment, based on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) metrics.

A team from Korea University came in second place, while a team from the University of Minnesota was in third. A team from Georgetown University finished fourth.

The competition was part of the 10th annual Invitational Undergraduate Case Competition on Social Responsibility at the University of Washington, Tacoma’s Milgard School of Business. The competition was held virtually this year, because of COVID-19.

The team worked hard to get to the finals – and it paid off, says Nima Farshchi, director of the Maryland Smith Center for Social Value Creation.

To reach the finals, the team won the Smith Impact Case Competition in January, during winter break. In the January case, hosted by the Center for Social Value Creation and Snider Consulting Group, nine undergrad groups sent teams of four students to participate in a preliminary case competition, analyzing whether ExxonMobil was a wise investment, using ESG metrics and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to measure the company’s long-term financial sustainability.

The Smith competition in January was judged by Protiti Dastidar, associate clinical professor of management and organization, the University of Maryland’s Roy Thomason, MBA students Lee-Ellen Matuzic Myles and Peterson Njamunge, and was organized by Farshchi, Soda Lo (undergraduate, CSVC), and Joe Houghton (undergraduate, Snider Consulting Group).

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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty master's, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.

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