For the second year in a row, a team from the Middlebury Institute has taken the top spot in the Business for a Better World international case competition. Team members Ameen Beydoun MBA/MAIPD ’18, Alexandra Cohen MBA/MAIPD ’19, Arti Dhar MBA ’19, and Dan Swinyard MBA ’18 presented what one of the judges called a “stunning” idea and comprehensive approach to this year’s challenge “to deliver an actionable idea that will enable meaningful investment in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) while creating new growth opportunities for BNP Paribas CIB division.”
Three teams, from the University of Laval, McGill University and the Institute, advanced to the final round of the competition which is hosted by CK Schulich and Corporate Knights and held each year in Davos, Switzerland to coincide with the World Economic Forum. “Everyone did great, and we left nothing on the table,” says team leader Swinyard. Dhar adds,"Representing MIIS at Davos was an incredible experience and we’re so happy to bring the first place title back."
“Middlebury won over the judges with their idea for financing smart roads with a comprehensive approach to address sustainable infrastructure which has spill over benefits for a plethora of sustainable development goals.” said Dirk Matten, Professor of Strategy; Hewlett-Packard Chair in Corporate Social Responsibility at Schulich School of Business, York University. “The idea is a stunning one as they combine solar technology, wireless technology and complex financial engineering.”
"We were excited about our business idea to begin with," shares Dhar, "but BNP Paribas and rest of the judges’ feedback to our presentation has only further validated that." Adds Cohen, "The fact that we had this incredibly talented and diverse team and were able to brainstorm and develop a viable product and then present it in Davos is amazing.” Especially rewarding, says Cohen, "was to work in a team where people brought different perspectives and experiences and appreciated each others ideas and contributions." The team says the support of faculty members Yuwei Shi and Sandra Dow was invaluable. “They basically gave us master classes along the way!”
Professor Shi, who traveled with the team to Davos, says their “dedication, chemistry, and brilliance are remarkable to observe.” Vice President and Dean of the Institute Jeffrey Dayton Johnson remarks that the team “exemplifies so much of what our institution seeks to be on its best day: constructively competitive, restlessly intelligent, solution-focused, socially committed, and demonstrative of the power of a good group working together.”