A team of four Full-Time Carlson MBA students took first place in the Leeds Net Impact Case Competition (NICC) at the University of Colorado, Boulder. For their win at the February 12 and 13 event, team members Rebecca Blumenshine, Adam Rao, Emily Slaby, and Greg Videen took home $10,000. Second place at the event went to INSEAD and Purdue University took third.

NICC is one of the premiere MBA case competitions focused on solving real-world sustainability business cases. This year’s competition was on the topic of impact investing, sponsored by the Impact Finance Center. The case topic was a fictional cattle company called Flat Irons Cattle Company, which is in the business of producing ethically raised meat products. Flat Irons is a privately owned organization and the founding family also has established a foundation funded largely from the profits of the cattle business.

The student teams were playing the role of a recent MBA graduate joining the company’s strategic philanthropy division and tasked with thinking about how to best use the foundation’s $200 million endowment and annual $10 million distribution most effectively. “Specifically, we were looking into impact investment strategies that would further advance the mission of the foundation and also provide secondary benefits to the environment and community in which the business operates,” Videen said.

The Carlson School team competed in a virual first round on December 5 against 45 other teams from business schools around the world. The second round found the team in Colorado competing live against 25 other teams. “In the final round, we competed against five other teams, presenting to the host organization judges as well as all of the other teams in attendance,” Videen said. “We won first place and were given feedback that it was due to the strong message delivered in our presentation and how relatable it was to all stakeholders involved – not just targeted at business executives.”