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MBA competition works with Coca-Cola

Paul Kim | Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Coca-Cola Company has teamed up with Notre Dame’s Master of Business Administration program to host an online competition called the Deep-Dive Challenge. In the contest, participants submit plans on how the company could utilize the Slingshot, a water-purification device, to provide clean water in case of a natural disaster.

Derk Hendricksen, the general manager for the Slingshot program, said Coca-Cola hopes to purpose the Slingshot for humanitarian work.

“Through Slingshot technology developed by DEKA Research and Development, Coca-Cola is committed to improving the well-being of people who are currently without access to safe drinking water,” Hendricksen said.

According to Coca-Cola’s internal release, the Slingshot takes advantage of vapor compression distillation technology to turn unclean water into clean drinking water. The company claims each machine can deliver 200 gallons of water per day using 1 kWh, equivalent to the power usage of a hair dryer.
According to Deep-Dive Challenge’s website, participants must submit a one-page proposal including plans on how the units could be used in a disaster and how they could be deployed and how they could be funded.

MBA Senior Director Mary Goss said this competition is a great way for prospective students to get a sample of the Notre Dame MBA program.
“It requires participants to apply their best problem-solving skills and creativity toward a real-life issue with significant global impact,” she said.

MBA Director of Admissions Brian Lohr said sponsors of past years’ Deep-Dive Challenges include Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Microsoft and Sprint. The contest, in its fourth year, was inspired by Inter-term Intensive, a program part of the MBA curriculum in which students participate in real-world presentations and case competitions from top Fortune 100 companies, Lohr said.

Lohr said this competition benefits both the company and the participants.

“It’s a great opportunity not only for Coca-Cola, because they get some great ideas, but it’s also a taste of graduate business education – how you can use business to be a force for good in the world,” he said.

In addition, Lohr said this competition is a helpful way in the MBA admissions standpoint to get the word out about the Notre Dame MBA program, showing what the program is doing to be a force for good.

“I think there is a lot of people that are winning here,” he said.

Lohr said the number of participants, compared to last year, has increased by 40 percent.

“The energy around this Coca-Cola case was more than I’ve seen in my 16 years at Notre Dame,” he said. “People are really engaged, really asking good questions.”

The winner, to be announced mid-October, will receive an opportunity to travel on an all-expenses paid trip and see Coca-Cola’s initiatives in action. In addition, if the winner enrolls in the school’s MBA program in the 2014-2015 year, he or she will receive a $25,000 fellowship, Lohr said.

“This is an amazing initiative on multiple levels,” Lohr said. “The winner receives two unique and life-changing opportunities: the chance to pursue a higher education degree at Notre Dame and the chance to personally affect global health and well-being.”

The deadline for submission is Sep. 18 at 6 p.m., and participants can enter at: mba.nd.edu/deepdive. Anyone, including the general public, is invited to participate.