Dec 6 • 5 min read
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Ahaana Mahanti and Sanjana Gorti from the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, India, are the winners of the 2021 Fox International Business Case Writing Competition.

Led by the Fox School’s Translational Research Center, the case competition aimed to increase the quantity and quality of international business-focused teaching cases. 

Globalization has created an interconnectedness that extends into all aspects of business. When schools and universities across the globe shifted to an online learning mode, teachers looked for support to communicate insights to students virtually. 

The Fox International Business Case Competition sought to close this learning gap by helping authors create teaching case material focused on emerging economies, while also promoting case-writing capabilities in both developed and developing nations. The competition invited case authors from different fields to create business cases focused on concepts critical to international business, with a particular focus on online delivery. 

Twenty-eight teams, consisting of researchers and professionals from across the globe, entered into the case competition this year. The competition was co-sponsored by Ivey Publishing and the Temple Center for International Business Education and Research

Mahanti and Gorti were announced as the first-place winners on Dec. 6. 

Mahanti and her co-author Gorti wanted to highlight the challenges faced by Shakti Plastics, one of the oldest plastic waste recycling companies in India through their case titled “Shakti Plastics Industries: Enabling a Circular Plastics Value Chain.”

Explaining why she chose to focus on the plastics industry, Mahanti says, “Plastic is a highly versatile innovation that can successfully expand the lifespan of several products, but the plastic menace is rapidly intensifying and severely impacting marine and land ecosystems. The Shakti Plastics is a great case study because it shows how plastic waste management can come up with innovative technologies that can recycle difficult-to-recycle plastics such as single- or multi-use plastics.”

Mahanti says that she identified that climate change was a huge business opportunity for several business leaders who have committed to carbon neutrality over the next two decades. “In addition to being a health hazard, the plastic menace is rapidly intensifying and severely impacting marine and land ecosystems,” says Mahanti. “Through our case, we wanted to highlight how collaborating with business leaders was the key to resolving this crisis.”

The team awarded second place was Rajeev Kumra of the Indian Institute of Management and Surajit Ghosh Dastidar of IMT Hyderabad. Ram Subramanian of Stetson University in Florida received third place. The top three winning submissions receive monetary prizes as well as a review for possible publication by Ivey Publishing.

Kumra and Ghosh’s case, titled “Vaccine on Wheels: Service Excellence for Covid Vaccination,” explores different business models that could help a country as big as India vaccinate one million people against COVID-19 by the end of the year.

“India is a developing country and so it is struggling with its immunization program. An estimated 38% of the children in India did not receive their basic vaccines in their first year of life and only 75% of infants are fully immunized against a target of 90%,” says Kumra. “It was fascinating to write a case on a company that addressed this problem of the vaccination industry.”

Subramanian’s case, “Corporate Governance at Toshiba Corporation,” encourages students to come up with a strategic solution to appease the shareholders of Toshiba Corporation after an investigator’s report maligns the company’s reputation.

“There is an ongoing debate about the shareholder primacy approach versus the stakeholder perspective in corporate governance, with the U.S. attempting a slow but noticeable shift to the stakeholder model,” says Subramanian. “I saw this as a great opportunity to use Toshiba’s annual general meeting imbroglio effectively in the classroom.”

The other finalists included 

  • Sheri Lambert, Dennis Paris and Jennifer Sundstrom-Fitzgerald of Temple University 
  • Sara Honovich, Neha Mittal and Jennifer Sundstrom-Fitzgerald of Temple University
  • Marilyn Anthony of Temple University and Shreshthi Mehta of Northeastern University
  • Siddhartha Saxena of Ahmedabad University and Deepa Chaudhary of Indian Institute of Management
  • Servajaeta Verma from the S.R. Group of Institutions in Lucknow.

Winner Ahaana Mahanti said that the case competition gave her the opportunity to compete with different researchers from around the globe and a chance to get her case published in an international setting.

“We thought it was very important to sensitize business school students to important issues related to the environment and the society. This is possible by designing new courses and business case studies that go beyond financial, marketing or operational decision problems,” says Mahanti. “We need students to consider the long-term impact of climate change to businesses and the innovation potential and comparative advantage proactive climate response entails,” she says.

As part of its aim to promote the case-writing capabilities of authors in developed and developing nations, the competition sponsored three free virtual workshops over the summer. The workshops, presented by Fox School faculty and Ivey Publishing experts, focused on online delivery methods, preparing a case plan, writing an opening paragraph and teaching note, as well as other best practices. 

Mahanti says the workshops helped her case writing team. “After attending the engaging case workshops, we were ready to craft a case and test its potential at a competition of this scale,” she says. 

Finalist Servjaeta Verma, who wrote a case titled “Desi Hangover: Circular Transition of a Conscious-Fashion Brand,” agrees. “The major motivation was attending the pre-competition workshops,  which made participation even more interesting.”

“It is always exciting to see the depth and breadth of submissions at such a high quality,” says Matt Quinn, director of Ivey Publishing. “To see new authors exploring ideas so relevant to the classroom is energizing and speaks to how valuable cases are to learners around the globe.”

2021 Fox International Business Case Writing CompetitionCIBERCOVID-19Temple Center for International Business Education and ResearchTranslational Research Center