This was the first time UBC Sauder had taken part in this competition, and the team successfully edged out 18 other participants, including five international schools, two other Canadian schools, and 11 American schools.
The social responsibility case focused on real-estate marketplace Zillow. Teams were challenged to come up with a proposal that would maximize the organization’s impact on those who are on the verge of homelessness within five years, with a budget of five million dollars.
“Our recommendations were to improve their current CSR strategy, to create larger stakeholder engagement with the housing vulnerable community, real-estate agents, employees and non-profit partnerships,” said Brielle Man, one of the team members, who is specializing in Marketing and Sustainability.
“We’ve all done a few case competitions before this, so we knew the importance of research analysis to understand the company, assessing strengths and weaknesses in our recommendations, and formulating a schedule for timely execution,” said Man. “We learned how to better manage stress and how to have fun while getting things done. I learned a lot from my teammates too.”
Tamar Milne – Lecturer, Marketing and Behavioural Science and Chair of the Sustainability & Ethics Group at UBC Sauder - provided coaching support to the team.
The team also had the opportunity to meet with Laura Plant (Sustainability and Climate Change Consultant) and Charlotte Lyons (Manager) from PwC for case preparation.
Christie Stephenson, Executive Director of UBC Sauder’s Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics travelled with the team to Tacoma.
“It was amazing to work with the students and see them use their business knowledge to solve critical social issues,” Stephenson said.
“She [Stephenson] served as huge encouragement. Having her there in Tacoma made all the difference,” said Man. “We were nervous about presenting so she gave us advice on presentation style. She was there for us throughout the process from when we first met as a team.”
Overall, Man says the UBC Sauder community has been very encouraging and supportive. “Friends and acquaintances have congratulated me, and after participating in four case competitions this year, I’m so happy that this last one was a win!”
UBC Sauder team wins case competition on social responsibility