About the Competition
CESR developed the Business Ethics Case Competition in order to challenge undergraduate students to apply their values and skills learned in Leeds classes to difficult real-world cases. The ethical dilemmas explored in the competition range from topics in energy production to company supply chains, each dealing with a complex web of stakeholder needs and interests.
The CESR Business Ethics Case Competition is an interactive way to deepen students’ understanding of the importance of creating ethical as well as profitable business cultures. Teams are provided with a business case leading up to the competition which they have to analyze, create recommendations for, and present to a panel of judges.
The competition is sponsored by Tim Borden, a pioneering force in the development of ethical issues in corporate governance, a field that now includes corporate social responsibility, corporate citizenship and sustainability.
This competition is closely related to the Diversity Ethics Case Competition, taking place in February and organized by the Office of Diversity of Affairs and CESR.
- Teams consist of four to six undergraduate students, combining to the extent possible first- and second- year contestants with juniors and seniors to allow younger students to work with more experienced students in understanding how to compete in a business ethics case competition.
- Contestants sign up in pairs of two, or groups of four, with the understanding that BECC managers may assign additional participants in order to achieve the desired mix of academic years represented within each team.
30 minutes total alotted for each presentation:
· Presentations no longer than 15 minutes
· 10 mins judges Q/A
· 5 mins transition
Judges utilize the following scoring criteria in evaluating teams throughout the competition
– Depth and breadth of analysis of the ethical issues
– Recommendations that are both ethical and practical in a business context
– Responses to questions
How it works
The competition consists of a preliminary round and a final round. Teams in the first round are split into flights with the top 2-3 teams from each flight continuing on to the final round. Each round has separate cases on a related topic.
In the preliminary round, teams are given 36-46 hours to prepare their presentation after receiving the case and present to a panel of faculty judges. The final round has a longer prep time of one week and is judged by a panel of executive judges (see below for past judges).
In the 2019 BECC preliminary round, teams acted as fictional social enterprises tasked with solving the St. Louis food desert crisis. After pitching their ideas to solve the crisis, students continued to the final round of competition where they responded to an additional funding offer and proposed solutions for further growth of the enterprise.
The case for the 2018 BECC preliminary round focused on differing religions within the workplace. Students analyzed the culture clash within one investment group and weighed the factors that contributed to creating a work environment catered to the beliefs and comfort of all employees.
In the final round, students tackled the issue of the growing waistline of the average American in regards to airline pricing models. Teams created recommendations for how the airline industry should compensate for the added fuel costs of passengers.
The case challenge for the 2017 BECC final round was to analyze the production practices and ethical and financial implications of a palm oil plantation and refinery in Indonesia, considering social and environmental issues including massive-scale deforestation, labor rights violations, and violation of indigenous people.
The topic of the 2016 BECC preliminary round was Uber Technologies Inc. focusing on ethics issues in passenger safety, driver pay, and the competitive environment of the taxi/transportation industry.
The final round topic put teams in the position of a consulting agency advising a fictitious natural grocer on how they source their seafood, namely fish. Teams assessed the Thai fishing industry and were charged to balance supply chain & financial implications with the grocer's ethical obligations to stakeholders (environment, laborers, fishing industry as a whole, customers, shareholders, etc.).