Aspen Institute Competition Prompts MBA Students to Innovate for the Good of Business and Society

May 3, 2018

MBA students have won a share of over $30,000 in scholarship money by tackling business challenges at the intersection of corporate profitability and positive environmental impact  

Contact: Iris Malfetano
Program Coordinator
The Aspen Institute Business & Society Program
(212) 895-8011│

New York, NY, May 3, 2018 – Twenty MBA students – selected from nearly 1,000 worldwide – have won a share of over $30,000 in scholarship money by tackling a real-life business challenge at the intersection of corporate profitability and positive environmental impact.

Through the Aspen Institute’s Business & Society International MBA Case Competition, along with lead partner BNY Mellon, students representing top business schools analyzed a brand-new case study, authored by the Yale School of Management in collaboration with the National University of Singapore, about sustainability initiatives at Marina Bay Sands (MBS). Creating one of the most distinctive architectural silhouettes in the world, the MBS resort’s three 55-story towers are topped by a cantilevered sky park that extends across the top of each building. The resort had garnered a Green Mark Platinum Award and boosted the efficiency of its waste, water, and energy systems, but opportunities for further progress remain. Students made recommendations to Kevin Teng, Executive Director of Sustainability at Marina Bay Sands, for new processes and services that align with MBS’s luxury branding and allow MBS to continue to deliver environmental innovation and bottom-line success.

Prizes were awarded at a breakfast event attended by 160 guests on Friday, April 27th at the Yale Club of New York City. Guests heard from the winning team, celebrated the 2018 Case Competition finalists and met a remarkably diverse and accomplished group of MBA students.

Congratulations to this year’s winning teams, representing: 

  • 1st Place: New York University, Stern School of Business
  • 2nd Place: University of Denver, Daniels College of Business
  • 3rd Place: Duquesne University, Donahue Graduate School of Business
  • 4th Place: The George Washington University, School of Business
  • 5th Place: Wilfrid Laurier University, Lazaridis School of Business & Economics (Canada)

Honorable Mentions were awarded to five additional teams (in alphabetical order):

  • Griffith University, Griffith Business School (Australia)
  • Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management
  • University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst, Isenberg School of Management
  • The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Business School (Australia) 

The competition judges were wowed by the First Place MBA team from New York University, Stern School of Business for their pragmatic, thoughtful, and wholistic recommendations. The judges also loved the attention to the risks involved, and the connection to Singapore’s identity as “the Garden City”.   

“A growing number of business leaders are stepping up and speaking out on critical social issues. The students who participate in our Case Competition bolster our optimism that this will not be a passing fad,” said Claire Preisser, Associate Director at the Aspen Institute Business & Society Program. “We are thrilled to recognize these students who—by ‘cracking’ this very tough case—are demonstrating their will and skill to lead business in more just, creative and sustainable ways.”

About the Case
Students had just 72 hours to review and respond to the new case study which challenged them to enhance sustainability initiatives at the Marina Bay Sands resort. The “raw” case was authored by a team at the Yale School of Management, in collaboration with a team at the National University of Singapore. Both institutions are members of the Global Network for Advanced Management, whose 32 schools collaborate on innovative and institution-spanning projects to accelerate change in management education.

Implementing sustainable practices offered an opportunity to appeal to younger generations of customers and reduce the net impact of MBS’s commitments for the environment. In the competition, students were tasked with developing practical implementation strategies for Marina Bay Sands that integrate sustainable commitments with human behavior.

On-campus competitions determined first-place school winners, whose case analyses were then blindly reviewed by an academic panel assembled by the Aspen Institute to determine the five finalist teams. All finalist teams received prize money, with the first-place team receiving $15,000 in scholarship funds. Now in its ninth year, the Aspen Institute’s Business & Society International MBA Case Competition encourages the next generation of business leaders to think innovatively about the role of business in solving the world’s most complex and pressing challenges.

Sponsors and Partners

The Aspen Institute Business & Society Program is grateful for the generous support of its corporate partners:

  • BNY Mellon
  • IBM
  • Marina Bay Sands
  • SAGE Publishing
  • Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

During the breakfast event, Kevin Teng, Executive Director of Sustainability at Marina Bay Sands, shared insights on MBS’s sustainability strategy and the role of business in societal change. He was joined on the panel by Regina Abrami, Senior Fellow, Management Department at the Wharton School of Business; Director, Global Program, the Lauder Institute of Management and International Studies and Bernard Yeung, Dean, National University of Singapore Business School.

The Aspen Institute is also thankful for the support, time, and enthusiasm of this year’s judges: Maureen Adams, Executive Editor, Business and Management, SAGE Publishing; Heidi DuBois, Global Head, Philanthropy and Corporate Social Responsibility, BNY Mellon; Maria Figueroa Kupcu, Partner, Head of New York Office, Brunswick Group LLC; Doreen Kum, Senior Lecturer, National University of Singapore Business School; Jason Tauber, Portfolio Manager, Large Cap Disciplined Growth Team, Neuberger Berman; Kevin Teng, Executive Director, Sustainability, Marina Bay Sands; Gina Tesla, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship, IBM.

In addition to the schools mentioned above, the Aspen Institute is proud to celebrate the other partnering schools in this year’s program:

  • Appalachian State University, Walker College of Business
  • Baruch College – CUNY, Zicklin School of Business
  • Boston University, Questrom School of Business
  • Columbia University, Columbia Business School
  • East Carolina University, College of Business
  • Fordham University, Graduate School of Business
  • INCAE Business School (Costa Rica)
  • Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, Fisher MBA in Global Impact Management
  • Millsaps College, Else School of Management
  • University of Cape Town, Graduate School of Business (South Africa)
  • University of Chicago, Booth School of Business
  • University of Jyväskylä, School of Business and Economics (Finland)
  • Villanova University, Villanova School of Business

Learn more about the Business & Society International MBA Case Competition by visiting the competition’s official website:

The Aspen Institute Business and Society Program, founded in 1998, works with business executives and scholars to align business decisions and investments with the long-term health of society—and the planet. Through carefully designed networks, working groups and focused dialogue, the Program identifies and inspires thought leaders and “intrapreneurs” to challenge conventional ideas about capitalism and markets, to test new measures of business success, and to connect classroom theory and business practice. For more information, visit Subscribe here to our weekly email digest of Ideas Worth Teaching at the intersection of business & society.

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

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