Gustavson MBA Team in Top Three in the World

Seems coffee is a valuable study aid in more than one way. A team of MBA students from the University of Victoria’s Sardul S. Gill Graduate School at the Gustavson School of Business placed in the top three in the world at the recent Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality MBA Challenge 2013.

The Nespresso challenge presents the issues of coffee sourcing from thousands of smallholder coffee farmers in Latin America and other parts of the world, and wants “smart young minds from around the world to think about and come up with innovative ideas related to sustainable quality coffee sourcing.”

The top three teams, of more than 30 entrants globally, were invited to present to a group of the world’s leading business and sustainability experts at the final in Switzerland last week. UVic’s team of Jesal Shah, Rebeca Saenz, Taryn Roy and Andrew Spence, along with faculty advisor Professor Matt Murphy, traveled to Europe to put forward their creative proposal to support the long-term economic, social and environmental sustainability of coffee farming in Colombia.

“It’s a proposal [to stimulate] the creation of cooperatives through out the coffee-growing region,” Murphy says, “and the co-operatives would then address the various problems related to intergenerational succession, climate change and improving farming technique. I think this may have been popular with the judges and Nespresso because it incorporates the things Nespresso has recently learned about using cooperatives to increase productivity.”

The two other finalists were the Rotterdam School of Management, in the Netherlands and the Crummer Graduate School of Business in Florida, with the Crummer Graduate School being named as the winner.