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Smeal Sustainability Case Competition reaches 800 MBAs

We have 30 teams from 17 different schools participating in this year's Smeal MBA Sustainability Case Competition. This puts us over 800 MBAs that have been involved in our national competition.

A list of competing business schools and number of teams from each school is below.

Arizona State University's W. P. Carey School of Business (1)

Palumbo-Donahue School of Business, Duquesne University (2)

Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management (Cornell University) (1)

Haskayne School of Business (1)

University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management (1)

Tepper School of Business--Carnegie Mellon University (3)

George Washington University School of Business (1)

TCU Neeley (1)

The University of AZ - Eller College of Management (1)

Georgia Tech - Scheller College of Business (1)

Duke University, Fuqua School of Business (3)

The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business (3)

Rutgers Business School (2)

Penn State Smeal College of Business (3)

University of Washington Foster School of Business (3)

Southern Methodist University (2)

University of Buffalo (1)

About This Year's Case Competition

The case this year—focused on CNote, the new award-winning social enterprise that creates financial products embedded with impact—invites students to explore the quickly growing impact investing and social finance space through the experience of one of its exciting new entrants. CNote, founded in 2016 by two

female entrepreneurs--Catherine Berman and Yuliya Tarasava (pictured right)--with deep backgrounds in finance, is an award-winning social enterprise providing sound returns while investing in underserved communities across America. Within the larger impact investing space, CNote has chosen to focus on non-stock financial vehicles with strong returns and social impact. Their first product is positioned as an alternative to traditional savings options.

To maximize impact, CNote partners with Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs), federally-certified community lenders with decades of experience empowering economically distressed communities. CNote members already committed over $17 million in investments to communities across America.

There is a lot of evidence that Millennials want to use their money to support socially responsible brands, companies and to exercise their values when managing their money. With strong, community-based partners, a technology-enabled platform, and a willing market, CNote has a bright future. But they face real challenges. Despite a general interest, few in the market understand impact investing and convenience tends to trump higher ideals.

How will they overcome these challenges and succeed in making finance a tool for change?

The teams are all working hard now on their answers. Good luck to all the teams!

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