BHP students Alexandre Ghadially, Blake Jones, Benedikt Kroll, and Catherine Anne Prideaux took fourth place at the 2015 McDonough-Hilltop Business Strategy Challenge at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. this past weekend. Twenty teams from around the world competed in this unique non-profit consulting case competition. This year’s case centered on strategically expanding For Love of Children’s (FLoC) educational support services into more low-income areas around DC.
The main goal of FLoC is to serve disadvantaged students in the DC community through one-on-one tutoring and college prep all free of charge. While FLoC has been located in the heart of the city close to where its volunteers, young professionals, work, they are planning to open up a second location on the outskirts of town in a historically low-income area. “The idea behind FLoC’s expansion is to establish a presence in the community where its services are needed most; our challenge was to find a way to adequately incentivize volunteers to go to the new location which is now, at best, a 45 minute commute via public transportation each way,” said Alexandre Ghadially.
The team presented a three-part proposal focusing on the expansion, recruiting and retaining volunteers, and restructuring the staffing model in order to achieve maximum efficiency without sacrificing FLoC’s primary focus: serving the children.
“The competition was not about the bottom line; it was about the net impact on the DC community as a whole. We never built models or even opened Excel really. Unlike any of my previous competitions, this case challenged me to seek more creative solutions with extremely limited resources,” noted Benedkit Kroll.
The team was given 36 hours to work following a live presentation of the case and a live Q&A with the client. The team advanced to finals where they presented in front of their client, a panel of industry professionals serving as judges, and all their competitors.
“The McDonough-Hilltop Challenge is truly special. I am grateful for the unique opportunity to work with and make an impact on a local non-profit while competing with students from across the globe. I hope MHBSC continues with this competition and their mission and that McCombs continues to be a part of it,” said Blake Jones.
“Participating in the competition made me appreciate the case-based curriculum in the Business Honors Program. We essentially ‘prepped’ for the challenge every single class period whereas most teams specifically practiced cases with advisors prior to the competition. After making fun of our accents, most teams were shocked to find we had never actually competed together before McDonough,” said Catherine Anne Prideaux.
In addition to working on the case, the team attended a professional hockey game, toured the Capitol, and enjoyed spending time with the other international teams.