ND MBA student takes second in essay contest

Author: Carol Elliott

Notre Dame MBA student Balakrishnan Rangan was awarded second place in the Access: Voice of the Next Generation essay contest presented by student group Net Impact and sponsored by FedEx. Rangan was one of just 11 finalists selected from essays submitted by graduate and undergraduate students from the United States and seven other countries.

The purpose of the contest was to encourage emerging leaders to offer their opinion on the future of “Access,” or the ability for people, organizations and nations to connect and interact rapidly around the globe to access goods, information and ideas. Participants were challenged to answer the question, “Where Will Access Take Us Next?”

“This competition gave me an opportunity to write about something that I believe in, and so I sent in my entry based on the theme of human development,” said Rangan, who will graduate in 2010. In his submission, Rangan discussed his personal revelations about the power of having instantaneous access to information via technology. He also suggested that supplying this access to developing parts of the world ultimately will improve standards of living by providing educational resources, combating terrorism and increasing the sense of interconnectedness in the human community.

“The main point I want people to take away from my essay is that, in an increasingly smaller and agile world, improved access could help human development catch up with business development,” Rangan added.

Contest judge Bill Margaritis, corporate vice president of Global Communications & Investor Relations at FedEx, commented about Rangan’s entry: “Interesting new ideas were presented, and the essay was very well-thought out.” Tony Ammeter, associate dean for Undergraduate Programs and Associate Professor of Management Information Systems at the University of Mississippi, said the essay “moves the Access discussion in an exciting and original direction.”
Winners were announced April 7.

"As current and future leaders in business, Net Impact members are well aware of the interconnectedness of world markets and they are eager to address issues related to creating economic opportunities in a socially and environmentally responsible way," said Liz Maw, Executive Director of Net Impact. "We are excited to showcase the outstanding winners of this contest, who have all shared powerful suggestions on how they would shape the direction of access."

Rangan took home a cash prize of $1,000. First place was awarded to Edgar L. Bounds IV, of the University of Mississippi, and third place went to Nicholle Bittlingmeyer of Queens College, City University of New York. Excerpts from the winning essays will appear in the third volume of Access Review, scheduled to be published in May 2009. Free copies of the publication can be downloaded at http://access.fedex.com.

"At FedEx, we understand how to harness the power of a connected world since our network serves more than 220 countries and territories worldwide," said Jill Brannon, senior vice president, International Sales, FedEx Services. "Through this essay contest, we saw clearly how the next generation of leaders also recognizes the importance of global connectivity - and we congratulate the winners for their innovative ideas aimed at enhancing the world's levels of access. We hope their vision will set in motion practical solutions that will improve the future prospects for people, businesses, and nations."

Rangan also was a member of the team that recently took first place and $6,000 in the second annual Neeley Sales & Marketing Strategy Competition, sponsored by Sony Electronics. Sixty MBA students from 23 universities across the U.S. competed in randomly assigned teams of six in front of Sony Electronics executives who presented the case and acted as judges.

About Net Impact
Net Impact is a global organization of students and professionals using business to improve the world. The organization offers a portfolio of programs and initiatives to educate, equip and inspire more than 10,000 members to make a positive impact through business. Spanning six continents, Net Impact's membership is one of the most influential networks of students and professionals in existence today, and includes current and emerging leaders in corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship, nonprofit management, international development and environmental sustainability. The Net Impact network includes more than 200 chapters in cities throughout the world and a small central office in San Francisco. Learn more at www.netimpact.org.

About FedEx
FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services. With annual revenues of $38 billion, the company offers integrated business applications through operating companies competing collectively and managed collaboratively, under the respected FedEx brand. Consistently ranked among the world's most admired and trusted employers, FedEx inspires its more than 290,000 team members to remain "absolutely, positively" focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities. For more information, visit news.fedex.com.