Graduate Blog / Graduate Life

Babson Students Attend UN Sustainable Development Goals Case Challenge

Are you wondering if your passion for social impact and sustainability will fit within a business school education? Do you want to know if there are opportunities to networking and interacting with MBA students at different business schools around Boston? Are you curious how Babson’s Entrepreneurial Thought & Action applies to real world issues? Read about Sthuthi Jebaraj’s experience at a case challenge centered on the United Nation’s Sustainability Development Goals below.

Left to right – Back row – David Finger, Sherene Shenouda, Mehak Bhalla, Calliope Desenberg, Qianru Song, Husain Kassamnath; Front row – Vedanth Yelemane, Deepjyoti Dutta, Ximena Arguelles, Linh Le, Sthuthi Jebaraj; Missing – Yosuke Takishima 

Recently, 12 of us from the MBA program at Babson had the opportunity to participate in the first annual case challenge based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It was a thoroughly enjoyable day and well worth our time!

In case you are not familiar with the SDGs, they are a set of 17 goals adopted by the United Nations on September 25th, 2015. Commonly referred to as the Global Goals, they aim to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. Each Goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years.

The recent case challenge was organised by the Boston Consulting and Impact Coalition (BCIC) which includes students from 5 Boston schools (Babson College, Boston College, Boston University, Brandeis University, and Tufts University) who are interested in careers in consulting and social impact. Babson was represented by MBA students from both the Net Impact as well as the Consulting Club.

The case for the day was based around a social entrepreneurship company in an emerging market.This company sells a product that helps achieve Global Goal 6 which aims to ensure water and sanitation for all. The case perfectly embodied the challenges that come with running a social enterprise. It also allowed us to practise some of the entrepreneurial thought and action (ET&A) that we have been taught at Babson.

Hosted at the Heller School of Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, the day began with an introductory talk on the SDGs by Peter Smith, the founder of Communities without Borders and advisory council member for the United Nations Association of Greater Boston. We followed this up by participating in a brief session where we were introduced to the art of improvisation. This exercise was very useful to help us think about our presentation skills and how we could be more engaging as presenters.

We began case preparation over lunch when we also met our team members for the first time, Every team included a member from each of the 5 participating schools and every member had varied backgrounds and were from different programs such as management, policy, and international development.

The initial round consisted of 4 teams presenting to a judging panel and the winner in each was selected to present at the final round. The final three teams presented to all judges, most of whom were faculty from the represented schools. A fellow Babson MBA student, Sherene Shenouda, was part of the team that won first place. The day wrapped up with a time to relax and network at Brewer’s Tap and Table.

As a healthcare professional who cares deeply about the Global Goals, it was a pleasure to meet and work with other like-minded graduate students studying throughout Boston who care about social entrepreneurship and business for good. Each team member brought different skills to the table and though we had all met only that morning, we were bound by our passion for social impact. Achieving the Global Goals will take collaboration across every sector and this day was an illustration of what that collaboration could and should look like. It was also a risk-free opportunity to test and practice what I’ve learned so far in the MBA program. It was a fun filled, packed, challenging day and if you ever have a chance to participate in such an event, don’t miss such an opportunity!

Sthuthi Jebaraj is a second year in the Two Year MBA program at Babson.