As the walls come down, both literally and figuratively, between CU’s Leeds School of Business and the College of Engineering & Applied Science, students are already reaping the benefits of the new physical and co-curricular partnership.
The inaugural Phillips 66 Business and Engineering Diversity Case Competition, a first-of-its-kind program, invited diverse students from the business and engineering schools to solve a business case on social responsibility earlier this month.
“The future workforce of business and engineering is a diverse workforce,” says Kristi Ryujin, associate dean of graduate programs at Leeds School of Business. “Bringing these students together to see the value each person adds and practice creating a solution together is some of the most valuable experience they can have.”
Five interdisciplinary teams compared how Phillips 66 and an aerospace corporation were making progress toward meeting the UN’s sustainable development goals. Students then determined which company had the best plan.
Teams had 24 hours to research, brainstorm, draft recommendations and present to a panel of faculty judges from both schools. A team of three business and two engineering students clinched first place—a prize of $1500 for each student.
“The P66 Case Competition gave me exposure to understanding, analyzing and creating solutions to real-life business challenges with a team across different fields of learning, similar to the professional world,” says Javari McGill, an MBA student on the winning team.
What we know from the business world, asserts Ryujin, is that diverse teams produce better business solutions. Event partner Phillips 66 agrees. Given Phillips 66’s history of collaborating with both schools to promote diversity and inclusion, their involvement was a natural fit.
Although the building expansion between business and engineering is still a year from completion, it is already inspiring hands-on learning, relationship building, dialogue and productive interactions across disciplines.