Governance and Social Responsibility : UA's Net Impact Team Takes Second in Hitachi Foundation Competition
By Liz Warren-Pederson
Three Eller MBA students — Tayo Akanni, Dale Prentiss, and Nick Theisen — placed second in a nationwide case competition focused on the role of business in creating a more sustainable world and sponsored by Net Impact and the Hitachi Foundation.
The case competition was centered around the study “Integrated Packaging Corporation: Struggling to Do the Right Thing,” which explores how CEO Al Fuller successfully revitalized a failing corrugated box plant in New Brunswick, New Jersey, while dramatically improving the standard of living for his employees. The case posed the question whether this model can successfully be expanded into another inner city: Detroit, Michigan.
“In the case, we needed to find financial and human relations solutions for the company to succeed and pay their workers a fair wage for a fair days’ worth of work,” Prentiss explained. “We excelled on this aspect of the case and the work was split evenly between the spring and fall semesters, because there was a case addendum in the fall which required that we write two different case analysis reports.”
Part of their success on that phase of the competition was due to their mix of personal and professional experiences. “We had a great deal of diversity on our team,” Prentiss said. “We come from very different backgrounds, which helped us analyze the issues the company faced from many different angles. We spent a lot of time brainstorming and asking each other hard questions, playing devil's advocate.”