Published: March 22, 2017 By ,

Each year the Leeds School of Business hosts the Net Impact Case Competition, NICC, which is the premier MBA case competition focused on solving real-world social and environmental business challenges. This year's case required participants to develop viable business solutions to the problem NICof mental illness and substance abuse in the workplace.

15 student teams participated in the competition this February 17th and 18th, and the team from MIT Sloan School of Management took home the $15,000 first-place prize. (Because of hosting the competition, Leeds students do not compete.) This year’s competition Co-Presidents, Christina Torres and Shawn Lindabury, took a moment to reflect on their involvement with NICC after catching their breath from the hugely successful event.

Why did you get involved in NICC and choose a leadership role?

Christina: I saw that it was a great way for Leeds to build relationships, both locally and nationally. The competition attracts MBAs from around the country (and globe!) as well as a community of business professionals that help judge the competition. It is an opportunity for Leeds to distinguish itself through innovative case topics and it highlights our strong Net Impact program. I enjoyed the opportunity to pass on the NICC tradition that Leeds is known for.

Shawn: NICC seemed like an exciting way to learn first-hand about a real sustainability/social impact issue facing our sponsor. It also seemed like a great way to give back to Leeds and help with an event that attracts MBAs from all around the world.

How does NICC contribute to the Leeds culture and values?

Christina: NICC shows how collaborative and supportive our business community is. Our judges come back year after year, many of which are also in the mentorship program or are Leeds alumni. I think this quote from Xavi Roca, a member of the winning team says it all:

“We felt really supported and guided and encouraged by the organizing team. The judges were so kind and generous in their feedback and recognition of our ideas. And we found the topic so relevant! This was one of the top highlights of my MBA!”

Favorite moment/part of the job?

Christina: A special moment for me was the winning team acknowledging how this event will always connect us in our commitment to destigmatize mental health -- it was inspiring to see how engaged and enthusiastic the teams were about the case topic.

Shawn: My favorite moment is seeing months of planning come together into a successful event. We got so many complements from teams, including people saying it was the best case competition they'd ever attended.

What makes this competition different/fun/interesting?

Shawn: It's almost entirely student run (with help from our faculty advisor). Students find the sponsor, write the case, manage a budget of over $50K, plan the event logistics, recruit the teams, and run the competition. Another unique aspect of this year's case was the topic. Mental health is so important to everyone, but it's not something most MBAs talk about. I think the case really helped spark a conversation and teams came up with some truly innovative ideas that could make a difference. 

Christina: Our Leeds MBA volunteers were instrumental in the success of this event and helped Shawn and I so much!