The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



MBA competition begins

Tori Roeck | Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Notre Dame’s Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) program is providing prospective MBA students with an opportunity to showcase their business acumen through the third-annual Mini Deep-Dive Challenge, a competition asking students to solve a real-life corporate responsibility.According to a University press release, the grand prizewinner will receive a $25,000 fellowship if admitted to the Notre Dame MBA program, and the first 50 students to sign up will receive a $50 prize package.

Bill Brennan, MBA initiatives program director, said the challenge is based on interterm intensive sessions in which MBA students participate twice a year.

“What we do in those is in a four day period of time, we work with what I refer to as ‘big, sexy companies’ like GE, IBM [and] HP … [and] students tackle live business problems that the companies have yet to resolve,” Brennan said.

This year’s partner for the Mini Deep-Dive Challenge is Sprint, who will post a business problem concerning corporate responsibility online, and students will have to draft a one-page explanation of their solution, Brennan said.

“The real challenge to a lot of people is … creating a solution that’s refined to the point that it’s easily articulated and that it makes a lot of sense business-wise,” he said. “You’re looking at something that’s seemingly very complex, but your solution has to evolve in the rationality you use to the point where you have to explain it in one page.”

Faculty at the Mendoza College of Business will choose the best proposals to send to Sprint executives, who will then determine the grand prizewinner and the top 10 finishers, Brennan said.

“Understanding the problem or the opportunity, coming up with a viable solution – those would be heavily weighted elements of the judging process,” he said.

Besides testing students’ business skills, Brennan said one goal of the competition is to give prospective MBA students an idea of what the Notre Dame program is like, which influenced the program’s decision to make corporate responsibility the challenge’s theme.

“‘Ask more of business’ is our slogan here in the Mendoza College of Business, and we really believe strongly that corporate social responsibility is an important part of business,” he said. “Doing well is doing good, and it leads to good results not only for society but for the bottom line of the business … We think [this focus is] one of those things that makes Notre Dame a little bit unique, that we’re willing to show our values.”

In addition to promoting the MBA program, Brennan said the competition is also an extension of the work the Mendoza College of Business does to raise awareness about corporate responsibility.

“This is also a continuation of who we are. Fr. Sorin wrote that letter years ago about being a force for good in society, and this is one of the many little ways that we hope to do that as well, by providing exposure to people on corporate social responsibility,” he said. “Even something like this Mini Deep-Dive Challenge is … hopefully making for better citizenry, society and businesspeople all in one.”