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Provo – Bold strategy and detailed recommendations helped four Marriott School of Management undergraduates take third in the Milgard Invitational Case Competition on Social Responsibility. This was the first year Brigham Young University participated in the competition, held at the University of Washington Tacoma, where teams developed strategies to help a company positively impact society.
“Some of our team’s recommendations will be used in the future, and that was great to see,” said Jeff Thompson, professor of public management and team adviser. “The students were able to make a real difference.”
Teams from ten universities created recommendations for Outerwall, a company that produces machines, including the Redbox and Coinstar kiosks. Outerwall’s ecoATM, a kiosk that exchanges money for old electronic devices, was facing criticism for encouraging cell phone theft.
Students had only three days to prepare their strategies before flying to Washington to present to a panel of judges. The BYU team recommended that Outerwall rebrand the entire product and introduce new security features to show consumers that the company values their safety.
“Instead of addressing the symptoms, we tried to address the problem itself,” said team member Jake Hunsaker. “I learned that corporate social responsibility is not just an afterthought. It needs to be tied to a company’s strategy.”
The Marriott School’s team was comprised of seniors Samuel Belgique, a finance major from Salt Lake City; Jake Hunsaker, a management major from Ogden, Utah; Greg Kline, a management major from Arlington, Texas; and Jared Maxfield, a management major from Midvale, Utah.
“Our students had a strong presentation and did great for their first time competing in this case competition,” Thompson said. “It gave the students a chance to understand the challenges of operating a business that is both socially responsible and profitable.”
The University of Washington and University of Washington Tacoma teams won first and second place, respectively. Other participants included the University of Southern California, the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Arizona.