Berkeley Haas Wins First Place in The Executive Leadership Council's 2018 National Business Case Competition

Three MBA candidates from the Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley won The Executive Leadership Council’s (ELC) 2018 National Business Case Competition. Left to right: Elijah White and JoAnn Lee of ExxonMobil, Team Captain Breona (Bree) Jenkins, Andrew Briggs and Erin Gums of Berkeley Haas, and ELC President and CEO Skip Spriggs. (Courtesy of The ELC)

THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- Three MBA candidates from the Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley won The Executive Leadership Council's (ELC) 2018 National Business Case Competition, making a compelling case for "How to Stop the Diversity Pipeline Leak: Averting a Leadership Crisis."

Three MBA candidates from the Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley won The Executive Leadership Council’s (ELC) 2018 National Business Case Competition. Left to right: Elijah White and JoAnn Lee of ExxonMobil, Team Captain Breona (Bree) Jenkins, Andrew Briggs and Erin Gums of Berkeley Haas, and ELC President and CEO Skip Spriggs. (Courtesy of The ELC)

The first place team from Berkeley Haas included Breona (Bree) Jenkins, team captain and a first-year MBA Candidate who leads Berkeley-Haas' chapter of the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management; Andrew Briggs, a first-year MBA candidate who also leads a multi-million-dollar student-led venture capital fund; and, Erin Gums, a second-year MBA candidate at Haas. They received a cash award of $35,000. A $20,000 cash award went to the second place team from Duke Fuqua School of Business and the third place team from Howard University's School of Business won $15,000.

The annual competition, sponsored and hosted by Exxon Mobil Corporation, invites students from the nation's top business schools to form teams, led by black team leaders, to analyze a timely business issue that demonstrates the students' critical thinking, analytical and communications skills.

"The Berkeley Haas team delivered a strong and compelling case," said Skip Spriggs, president and CEO of The Executive Leadership Council, the preeminent membership organization for the development of global black leaders. "In today's complex and rapidly changing world, there is a great need for thoughtful, intentional and courageous leaders. However, minorities and women entering the pipeline for leadership roles seldom stay on the path to leadership. This business case sought to identify barriers to retention and suggest ways to overcome them."

The teams were challenged to develop a corporate strategy with a communications plan, strong financial analysis, and key measurable metrics to help companies retain the leadership talent of minorities and women. In addition to the cash award, the first place team from Haas will be introduced at The Executive Leadership Council's Annual Recognition Gala on October 11, 2018, at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, DC, attended by more than 2,000 leaders in business, public affairs, education and the arts.

"All of the teams did an excellent job of identifying and offering effective ways to retain diverse talent in the leadership pipeline for succession planning," said JoAnn Lee, Assistant General Counsel for ExxonMobil. "ExxonMobil is proud to recognize these future business leaders for their great work and creativity."

For the past nine years, ExxonMobil has sponsored the Business Case Competition on topics such as innovative science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education initiatives and devising energy plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. ExxonMobil and The Executive Leadership Council jointly developed this year's case.