Two teams of University of Notre Dame MBA students received first- and second-place prizes during the Arthur W. Page Society 2015 Case Study Competition. The Society, which announced the awards April 2, sponsors the annual competition in alliance with the Institute for Public Relations for the writing of original case studies by students pursuing a degree focused on corporate communications and public relations.
Notre Dame MBA students Jack Gay and Scott Manwaring won first place for their case study, “Starbucks Corporation: Tax Avoidance Controversies in the U.K.,” an investigative report into corporate tax avoidance that prompted an increasingly powerful citizen’s group to target Starbucks’ UK operation. The case examined the challenge entailed for socially conscious Starbucks in balancing its duty to shareholders to minimize tax liabilities and its promise to serve the communities where they do business.
The team of Benjamin Budish, Chase Lane and Richard Zaleskie were awarded second place for “Gilead Sciences and Sovaldi: The Cost of a Cure,” which looked at the controversy surrounding the biopharmaceutical company’s hepatitis C drug, Sovaldi, a highly effective but high-cost treatment for the disease that affects as many as 170 million people worldwide.
“These awards are an enormous honor for the students,” according to Professor James S. O’Rourke, Director of the Fanning Center for Business Communication in the Mendoza College. “First, they’re faced with the challenge of researching, writing, editing, and painstakingly documenting the business problem and management narrative in each case. That’s never easy,” he said, “particularly when some sources don’t want to speak with you. Secondly, our students are up against some of the best business students and case writers in the world. That’s a wonderful challenge for them.”
Notre Dame MBAs have won Page Society case-writing prizes on 19 occasions since 2002. “Our students have won the Page Society Grand Prize on four occasions over the past 14 years,” said O’Rourke. “Only one other school has won the Grand Prize more than once.”
The objectives of the competition are to 1) introduce the practical applications of the core principles that define public relations as a critical function of management to scholars, teachers and students; and 2) encourage research that contributes to the profession’s body of knowledge and provides practical suggestions on how to improve the corporate public relations function.
The judging panel is composed of Page Society members as well as members of Page Up—a recently established organization for staff of senior-level members, who display the potential to rise to a CCO or another Page Society eligible role.
The Eugene D. Fanning Center for Business Communication, located within Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, has as its mission to help members of the Notre Dame community achieve academic, intellectual and professional goals by providing instruction and guidance in all facets of human communication, from writing and speaking, to listening and group and team interaction. The Center has also earned an international reputation for producing management communication case studies and faculty publications. Notre Dame corporate communications case studies are used by more than 70 business schools around the world. For more information, visit the Fanning Center’s website.