A team of four Middlebury Institute students—Ameen Beydoun MBA/MAIPD ’18, Alexandra Cohen MBA/MAIPD ’19, Arti Dhar MBA ’19, and Dan Swinyard MBA ’18—will travel to Davos, Switzerland for the final stage of the Business for a Better World international case competition hosted by CK Shulich and Corporate Knights on January 25. Teams from three universities will present their projects to a panel of judges at an event that coincides with the World Economic Forum.
The challenge presented to teams from universities from across the world was “to develop a new and 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.” The Institute team beat out scores of other teams to advance to the final three. Faculty advisor Yuwei Shi will travel with them to Switzerland.
Dhar says she was excited at the opportunity to do some real-world problem solving for a real-world client, while working on an issue she is extremely passionate about, sustainability. “To now be able to present our ideas in front of industry leaders at the World Economic Forum is beyond thrilling.”
After surveying current financial products offered by the client, and what, if any, impact those products had on UN SDGs, the team decided to delve deeper into infrastructure investment. “That is where we got really interested,” shares team leader Swinyard. “The approach to infrastructure construction and investment is still stuck on technology and processes from the 1980s, and this is true world-wide. We figured if we could create a higher revenue stream and ROI on infrastructure that included updated technology and tech which enabled innovation in transport and commerce, then we would have the most impact on progressing towards the SDGs.”
The team is very excited about the opportunity to present their findings in Davos and follow in the footsteps of the winning team from last year’s competition, also from the Institute. Says Swinyard: “You can't have clean water without smart treatment and catchment systems. Clean energy is great but you need smart grids and smart storage methods. Reducing inequalities requires providing the historically disenfranchised with the great equalizer: education and access to information. All these and more require infrastructure of the future and we'd like to think that we figured out a way make that happen.”