U-M Team Wins Case Competition to Help Patagonia Fight Pollution


Leading outdoor outfitter Patagonia has committed to addressing the difficult issue of PFC chemicals contaminating natural areas. And following a recent competition hosted by the company, students from Michigan Ross are helping to lead the way.

Many companies, including Patagonia, use PFCs to make waterproof clothing. But as the potential danger from the compounds gets more attention, the company decided to address the problem with its first-ever Patagonia Eco Innovation Case Competition. More than 100 teams from 30-plus universities pitched their plans, but according to a report from the Poets & Quants B-school website, the University of Michigan team was the “clear front runner from the beginning.”

“This was the most inspiring thing I’ve done this year in business school,” team leader Allyson Stewart, MBA ’17, told P&Q. “I think that the interdisciplinary approach of the competition was really, really integral to how we need to solve future business problems.”

Other team members are Denise Miller, MBA/MS ’17; David Ruebenson, MBA ’17; Aysha Malik, MBA ’17; and Kevin Golovin and Sarah Snyder, both engineering PhD students. Now, P&Q reports, the team will work with Patagonia to implement their plan.

The victory continues a recent winning streak for Ross students in high-profile national competitions.

Note: A Patagonia executive will be among the guest speakers at this year’s Positive Business Conference, coming to Michigan Ross on May 12-13.

Read the full report from Poets & Quants

What Patagonia Learned From MBAs - Poets and Quants

It certainly doesn't take an MBA to innovate. But when a company needs innovation, a B-school is not a bad place to look. And that's exactly what Patagonia-one of the most trusted, innovative and environmentally aware organizations in the world-did when they knocked on the door of the University of California-Berkeley Haas School of Business.

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