Inaugural Notre Dame MBA Technology Innovation Challenge Draws Best and Brightest to Campus

Author: Angela Sienko

The Notre Dame MBA Technology Innovation Challenge, a new MBA competition hosted by the Mendoza College of Business, welcomed MBA teams from all over the country to campus during IDEA Week, which concluded April 28. The event, sponsored by Thomson Reuters, took place Friday, April 20 in Mendoza’s Jordan Auditorium.

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The Challenge focused on innovative business uses for blockchain, the distributed database technology that powers cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Teams from seven business schools, including one from Notre Dame, presented their proposals to a panel of judges, competing for $10,000 in prize money for the top-three teams.The team from University of California Irvine took the first place prize of $6,000.

This is the first year for the national MBA case competition, which was organized by the Notre Dame MBA Tech Club. The contest drew 20 teams from 11 universities across the country for the qualifying round in March. The other finalists came from Arizona State University, Cornell University, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth University, University of California-Irvine, University of Maryland and Washington University in St. Louis.

Blockchain’s potential as a powerful business tool made the emerging technology a natural choice for the competition. “It’s a new way to look at how data is managed in certain scenarios,” says Vinod Krishnadas, president of the Notre Dame MBA Tech Club and a 2018 MBA candidate at Mendoza. “There’s a very strong use case for blockchain applications.”

Judges for the final round were David Fowler, senior marketing director for the Midwest Business Unit at SAP America Inc.; Adam Kupperman, vice president of go-to-market for ONESOURCE at Thomson Reuters; Scott Nestler, associate teaching professor of management at Mendoza; Jim Seida, associate professor of accountancy at Mendoza; Heather Walker, vice president of product management for indirect tax and transfer pricing at Thomson Reuters; and Jon West, vice president of software engineering in the tax and accounting division of Thomson Reuters.

The event was co-sponsored by SAP.