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Thunderbird Names Sustainable Innovation Summit Winners

Submitted by: Thunderbird School of Global Management

Categories: Academia, Corporate Social Responsibility

Posted: Nov 13, 2007 – 03:30 PM EST


School also selects campus greening challenge idea

GLENDALE, AZ - November, 13, 2007 - A team of graduate students from Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies took the top prize of $20,000 and earned the title "Global Champions of Sustainable Innovation" Nov. 10 at Thunderbird School of Global Management.

Ten teams from top business schools around the world competed Nov. 8-10 in the final round of a sustainable innovation competition held in conjunction with Thunderbird's Sustainable Innovation Summit.

An MBA team from Thunderbird's On Demand program won the second prize and $5,000, and a team from Thunderbird's Global MBA for Latin American Managers, comprising members from Mexico and Peru, won third prize and $3,000.

The winning teams beat out seven other finalists including a second team from Johns Hopkins University and teams representing Duke, University of California Davis, Purdue University, University at Buffalo the State University of New York, University of Rochester, and University of Maryland. More than 100 teams representing 51 universities in 13 countries took part in the competition.

Students in the final round of the competition developed innovative and sustainable business concept plans that addressed real-life challenges faced by global corporations Johnson & Johnson and Arizona Public Service.

Each team had to address questions proposed by both companies. Arizona Public Service's question involved formulating opportunities for the company to utilize business process improvement and make sustainability a core business value, while Johnson & Johnson's question required finding an effective way for the company to cater to the medical needs of diabetic patients in China.

Chris Meyer, the winning team's captain from Johns Hopkins University, described the summit as challenging and said his team's strategy was different from others. "We were able to draw down to the grassroots level and offer answers more at the lower level," he said. "We figured out how can we get more benefits down to the common man and make an impact on them rather than focusing a higher class like other teams did."

The winners were announced Nov. 10 at an awards dinner capping the three-day competition that reflected a commitment to economically, environmentally and socially sound business practices.

Also announced at the dinner was the winner of Thunderbird's campus greening challenge. The challenge asked students to identify projects that could shrink Thunderbird's climate footprint in ways that pay for themselves and contribute to the educational goals of the school. The winning strategy, "Zero Capital Solar Pub," submitted by Ben Korsmo, Youngkuk Lim, Hiroshi Tojo, Kathy Yue, and Chris Larkin will be implemented by the school.

The team's plan to install solar panels on campus will generate enough solar power and renewable energy to offset the amount of electricity consumption at Thunderbird's Pub. Thunderbird will realize savings on its utility bill and costs will be minimal due to a Power Purchase Agreement. Through the agreement, the power provider owns, installs, operates and maintains the solar panels; in turn, Thunderbird purchases the solar power at a fixed rate. With this proposed plan, Thunderbird will save almost $5,000 the first year on its utility bill, and the initiative will neutralize nearly all of the Pub's emissions. The team received $1,000 for their submission.

Thunderbird's Sustainable Innovation Summit builds upon the school's curricular efforts in global citizenship and its mission to educate global leaders who create sustainable prosperity worldwide.

"This year's Thunderbird Sustainable Innovation Summit produced truly innovative thinking by the finalist teams," said Greg Unruh, director of Thunderbird's Lincoln Center for Ethics in Global Management. "They were able to demonstrate the real business value produced by new approaches to businesses that integrate economics, ecology and societal concerns."

Sponsorship partners of the summit included Johnson & Johnson, Arizona Public Service, BillMatrix, Xerox and Net Impact.

About Thunderbird
In 1946, Thunderbird was founded as the first graduate management school focused exclusively on global business. It is regarded as the world's leading institution in the education of global managers and has operations in the United States, Europe, Latin America, Russia and Asia. Ranked No. 1 in international business by U.S. News and World Report, the Wall Street Journal survey of corporate recruiters, and the Financial Times, Thunderbird is dedicated to educating global leaders who create sustainable prosperity worldwide. The school's programs facilitate the development of the global mindset which is critical to managing effectively in different social, economic and political environments. More than 38,000 students have graduated from Thunderbird, and its alumni live and work in more than 140 countries. For more about Thunderbird, please visit:

For more information, please contact:

Carol Sunnucks Thunderbird School of Global Management
Phone: 602-978-7272
Brian Camen Thunderbird School of Global Management
Phone: 602-978-7922


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