The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania Wins First Place in the 2019 ELC National Business Case Competition

April 10th, 2019


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The Woodlands, Texas (April 9, 2019) – Four MBA candidates from the Wharton School won The Executive Leadership Council’s (ELC) 2019 National Business Case Competition today, making a compelling case for attracting more members of the millennial/Generation Z populations to careers in the oil and gas industry.


The first-place team from Wharton included Oluwayimika (Yinka) Taiwo-Peters, team captain and a first-year MBA student; Angie Gonzalez, a first-year MBA student; Mallory Smith, a first-year MBA student; and, Kaila Squires, a first-year MBA student at Wharton. They received a cash award of $35,000. A $20,000 check went to the second-place team from Duke Fuqua School of Business and the third-place team from Miami Business School won $15,000. David Rowe, a second-year MBA student of the Miami Business School at the University of Miami was recognized as “Best Presenter.”

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

“The petroleum industry offers a rich variety of career and leadership options that touch on nearly every aspect of business, from accounting to exploration to marketing and technology,” said Skip Spriggs, president and CEO of The Executive Leadership Council, the preeminent membership organization for the development of global Black leaders. “These teams have helped identify effective ways to encourage the next generation to participate in an industry that is on the leading edge of climate-science research and seeking solutions for developing low-emissions technologies while serving the energy needs of society. Congratulations to the Wharton team on their winning case.”

The teams were challenged to research and identify factors, roadblocks, and other impediments to industry image, brand, recruitment and retention. The teams developed and presented viable solutions for attracting and retaining millennial/Generation Z employees.

In addition to the cash award, the first-place team from Wharton will be introduced at The Executive Leadership Council’s Annual Recognition Gala on October 10, 2019, at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, DC, attended by more than 2,200 leaders in business, public affairs, education and the arts.

“ExxonMobil is committed to attracting, developing and retaining a premier workforce of talented men and women around the globe, particularly from among the millennial and Generation Z populations,” said JoAnn Lee, Associate General Counsel for ExxonMobil. “We’re proud to partner with The Executive Leadership Council in recognizing these future business leaders for their academic excellence, dedication and creativity.”

For the last ten years, ExxonMobil has sponsored the National 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. ExxonMobil and The Executive Leadership Council jointly developed this year’s case.

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. Comprising more than 800 current and former black CEOs, senior executives and board directors at Fortune 1000 and Global 500 companies, 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.