Columbia Business School Team Takes First Place in The Executive Leadership Council’s 2017 Business Case Competition on Building a Sustainable Corporate Diversity and Inclusion Culture

April 13th, 2017


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THE WOODLANDS, TX (April 13, 2017) – Three MBA candidates from the Columbia Business School won The Executive Leadership Council’s (ELC) 2017 Business Case Competition.

The annual competition, sponsored and hosted by Exxon Mobil Corporation, invites students from the nation’s top business schools to form teams, led by black team leaders, to analyze a compelling business issue that demonstrates the students’ critical thinking, analytical and communications skills.

“The Columbia Business School team delivered a winning case,” said Ronald C. Parker, president and CEO of The Executive Leadership Council, the preeminent membership organization for the development of global black leaders. “It is remarkable that many U.S. corporations still struggle with creating and maintaining a culture of diversity and inclusion. These teams presented strategies, tactics and measurable metrics that major enterprises will find extremely valuable in proving that a diverse and inclusive workforce strengthens businesses.”

The teams were challenged to research, develop and present an innovative and comprehensive case based on the following parameters:

- Preparing early career stage employees (0 – 5 years) with skills for success with career life-cycle plans to ensure talent development and retention

- Addressing unconscious bias; management engagement, accountability and stewardship; and barriers to implementation and success

- Defining steps and actions that will lead to improvements in the representation of women and minorities in leadership categories

- Providing an external perspective on benchmarking and best practices, and effective strategies from other corporations

- Delivering metrics to support measuring success

The first place team from Columbia Business School included Eddwina Bright, the team captain and MBA/MPA candidate in the Executive MBA Program; Alryl Koroma, an MBA candidate in General Management and Marketing; and, Durrell Mack, an MBA candidate in Real Estate and Finance. They were presented with a cash award of $35,000. A $20,000 cash award went to the second place team from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and $15,000 was presented to the third place team from Northwestern Kellogg School of Management.

In addition to the cash award, the first place team from Columbia Business School will be introduced at The Executive Leadership Council’s Annual Recognition Gala on October 26, 2017, at the Gaylord National Hotel and Conference Center in National Harbor, MD, which will be attended by more than 2,200 leaders in business, public affairs, education and the arts.

“The students did an excellent job of summarizing the issues and offering tangible solutions to the challenge of developing a diverse and inclusive culture,” said JoAnn Lee, Assistant General Counsel for ExxonMobil. “ExxonMobil is proud to recognize these future business leaders for their great work and creativity.”

For the past eight years, ExxonMobil has sponsored the Business Case Competition on topics such as innovative science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education initiatives and devising energy plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This year’s case, “Building a Sustainable Inclusion and Diversity Culture,” was developed jointly by ExxonMobil and The Executive Leadership Council.

About The Executive Leadership Council:

The Executive Leadership Council, an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation founded in 1986, is the pre-eminent membership organization committed to increasing the number of global black executives in C-Suites, on corporate boards and in global enterprises. With more than 700 current and former black CEOs, thought leaders, board members and senior executives at Fortune 1000 companies and equivalents, and entrepreneurs at top-tier firms, its members work to build an inclusive business leadership pipeline that empowers global black leaders to make impactful contributions to the marketplace and the global communities they serve. For more information, please visit www.elcinfo.com.