About the Competition

N&O case competition

Leeds students register by Oct. 19, 2021 - extended deadline

CU's Preliminary Round will be held Oct. 29, 2021

All teams Final Round competition Jan. 21, 2022

Register to Compete - To register for the Final Round please email CESR

The Natural and Organic Case Competition (N&OCC) offers a valuable opportunity for talented students to engage with pressing business and social impact challenges in the natural products industry.

Through this multi-school competition, students address complex issues that are particularly relevant to this mission-driven industry, including data-driven decision making, supply chain sustainability and sales strategy with conscious consumers.

The N&OCC is followed by a networking reception where natural and organic food companies have the opportunity to meet and recruit graduate students.

The Natural and Organics Case Competition was a great way to challenge myself in social and environmental impact consulting, team collaboration, and persuasive presentation skills. I signed up as an individual (highly recommended!) and was placed on a team with three other students with diverse professional backgrounds and skill sets. The work was challenging and inspiring-- it solidified my interest in the natural and organics industry while providing some great networking opportunities. - Kallie Beebe (MBA, 2021)

2021-2022 Competition Timeline

  • October 19th: Leeds teams registered to compete in the Preliminary Round

  • October 29th: Leeds internal Preliminary Round to identify two teams to advance to the Final Round

  • January 4th: All final round teams from all participating schools must submit a registration form to CESR

  • January 6th: Case twist is released to all teams advancing to the finals

  • January 20th: All judging packets are submitted to Leeds by finalist teams
  • January 21st: Final Round

N&OCC winners 2019

Competition Format

How it works

This is a multi-school competition with the final round taking place in a single day in-person live event during which two teams from each participating school have the opportunity to present their solution to this year's case to an audience of judges and other industry professionals. Between four and eight teams will advance to the final round, depending on the total number of teams competing.

Each participating school will select two teams to send to the finals, which will be held in person at the Leeds School of Business in Boulder, CO. Participating schools can hold their own internal preliminary round or use another method to select teams to send to the finals. If hosting a preliminary round, Leeds will supply a case for that purpose. The preliminary round case will not be related to the final round case and work done to present for the preliminary round will not be directly applicable to the finals. 

The final round case will be a new case, and will be made available to competing teams two weeks prior to the event. The final round will take place in person at a live event at the Leeds School of Business in Boulder, CO on January 21, 2022 with a panel of 3-5 judges and an audience.

To ensure fairness, teams must not include their school name or any other identifying information either verbally or on the slides in their presentations for the final round.


    • Teams consist of three to four graduate students all of whom attend the same participating school.
    • Teams should make every effort to include 1st and 2nd year students and have gender diversity. We encourage students to prioritize diversity across all aspects when building their teams.
    • All team members must speak during presentations, and solutions should reflect contributions from all team members.
    • Contestants from CU Boulder can sign up individually (and be matched with others) or with others. Teams that sign up together should have the understanding that the N&OCC organizers may assign additional teammates.

    Read all Rules and Guidelines

    Presentation Action Items

    Preliminary Round presentations are allotted 22 minutes total:

    • Presentations no longer than 12 minutes
    • 7 mins judges Q/A
    • 3 mins transition

    Final Round presentations are allotted 25 minutes total:

    • Presentations no longer than 14 minutes
    • 8 mins judges Q/A
    • 3 mins transition

    Scoring Criteria

    Judges will evaluate the teams based on a variety of factors, including the following:

    • Delivery
    • Depth and breadth of analysis of the financial, operational, environmental, social and ethical issues
    • Persuasiveness
    • Creativity
    • Recommendations that are both mission-aligned and practical in a business context
    • Responses to questions

    Prizes are as follows:

    • 1st place team $7,500
    • 2nd place team $4,000
    • 3rd place team $2,500
    • Runner Up: $1,000

    Participating Schools

    We are pleased to welcome the following schools to compete in the 2021 Natural & Organic Case Competition:

    University of Denver, Daniels College of Business

    Colorado State University, College of Business

    Special thanks to our 2021 corporate partners:

    mannatree logo

    Perkins Coie law firm