Graduate Competition Aims to Improve Social Organization

Apr 06 2012


Graduate students from across the country gathered at Brigham Young University to create solutions for problems facing social organizations in the second annual Innovation in Social Entrepreneurship Case Competition.

"This competition provides a forum for students to solve interesting or pressing issues for a real organization," says co-director Royce Riddle, a second-year MBA student from Holladay, Utah. "The competition is a way for them to use their skills with a social focus. We're hoping this continues to feed the fire of social good in their lives."

First place went to University of Notre Dame, followed by BYU. Other schools participating included Cornell University, George Washington University, University of Colorado and William & Mary.

The teams were asked to generate new strategies to expand innovative social models and to present on the most effective way for organizations to magnify those. The MBA student teams had one week to review the case, based on a real problem within Community Enterprise Solutions, a company that educates local entrepreneurs.

The BYU team presents their solution to the panel of judges at the second annual Innovation in Social Entrepreneurship Case Competition.
The BYU team presents their solution to the panel of judges at the second annual Innovation in Social Entrepreneurship Case Competition.
"This competition is for businesspeople who desire to help others," says co-director Casey Green, a second-year MBA student from Centerville, Utah. "These MBA students have the knowledge that can help out the social organizations. We want business minds working on social issues."

The Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance hosted the second ISE Case Competition after the success of the first event in 2011. According to Riddle, the competition is all about working together on social issues and as the competition grows, the ideas produced will be more impactful.

"It was created partially because nobody completely understands social problems," Riddle says. "But we're working to figure it out, and we have a good start. This competition gives participants genuine understanding for the real needs of social organizations."

The students also benefitted by learning from and networking with other contestants and with big names in the social organization realm. The teams presented and received feedback from a panel of judges including Greg Van Kirk, founder of CE Solutions, and Brett Smith, director of the Institute of Entrepreneurship at Miami University.

The Marriott School is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. The school has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, public management, information systems and entrepreneurship. The school's mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,000 students are enrolled in the Marriott School's graduate and undergraduate programs.

Contact Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Miriam Shumway