Mendoza School of Business

Notre Dame coffee challenge offers chance at $10,000 MBA fellowship

Published: January 17, 2011 / Author: Carol Elliott

Do you have a great idea for a social responsibility plan for a global coffee company? One that is good enough to catch the attention of company executives and to compete with other MBA prospective students for a $10,000 Notre Dame MBA fellowship plus hundreds in additional prizes?

The University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business is hosting a virtual case competition where individual participants can analyze a real-life business challenge offered by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and submit their own one-page proposal for judging by company executives. The Notre Dame MBA Mini Deep-Dive Challenge launches online here with registration opening Jan. 17 and a deadline for entries of Feb. 4.

The challenge invites participants to develop a recommendation that has a real impact on a sustainability issue, while at the same time, strengthens the company’s brand. In addition to the grand prize of the $10,000 fellowship if the winner successfully matriculates into the Notre Dame MBA program, participants also may win Keurig Platinum Coffee Brewers, McDonald’s and adidas gift cards, and Notre Dame T-shirts. The first 200 contestants to register for the challenge and submit an entry receive a prize package valued at $30. Visit the Notre Dame MBA Mini Deep-Dive Challenge website for complete details.

“The challenge is a novel approach because it is open to anyone, but obviously, we would like to use this as a way for prospective students to get a taste of the type of experiences they will have in our Interterm Intensive offerings – solving tough, very current business challenges for successful companies interested in the solutions,” said Edward J. Conlon, associate dean of Graduate Programs at the Mendoza College of Business. Interterm Intensives, a signature feature of the Notre Dame MBA program, involve intense, four-day case studies centered around solving real issues presented by Fortune 500 companies, such as GE, McDonald’s, adidas, IBM, Coca-Cola and Boeing.

“But it is also an intriguing case revolving around sustainability, and Green Mountain has a sincere interest in hearing some creative recommendations,” Conlon added.

For those who register at the site, the case briefing will be unveiled Jan. 25. On Feb. 1, executives Mike Dupee, the vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility at Green Mountain, and Chris Stevens, the vice president of Corporate Relations and Customer Development at Keurig will chat online about the case starting at 6 p.m. ET. They also will serve as judges in picking the winning CSR plan.

The site features a series of sequential videos that follow a team of Notre Dame MBA students – Team Giving Grounds – who participated in the same curriculum-based case competition in the fall session of Interterm Intensives. In the videos, the team members analyze the case, brainstorm ideas and present their recommendations in a final presentation before Green Mountain executives. Participants can watch segments of the video to glean information about the Mini Deep-Dive Challenge case and consider the team’s approach.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, manufacturer of the Keurig coffee-makers and several brands of K-Cup® coffees, teas and hot cocoas, considers its long history of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives as a central to its mission. Green Mountain supports local and global communities by offsetting 100 percent of its direct greenhouse gas emissions, investing in Fair Trade Certified™ coffee, and donating at least 5 percent of its pre-tax profits to social and environmental projects.

Contact: Brian Lohr, director of Notre Dame MBA Admissions, at (574) 631-8488 or


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