Ross MBAs Win National Innovation Challenge... Again

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A team of Michigan Ross MBAs is starting 2017 off with a big win––first place at the national Accenture MBA Innovation Challenge, an honor also earned by their Ross classmates last year.

Ashlyee Freeman, Catalina Kaiyoorawongs, Sean Pavlik, and Caitlin Cordell, MBA ‘18, competed against 192 students in New York City on Jan. 6. The case competition involved developing innovative fundraising solutions for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

“The biggest challenge for me was understanding and addressing the sheer complexity of the topic––generating awareness of refugee issues––as we crafted a concise, compelling recommendation to best meet the non-profit client's needs,” Pavlik said.

“We had to learn how to work well together even though we didn't know each other well in the beginning,” Freeman said. “We actually ended up using the Michigan Model of Leadership to identify each other's ‘color’ or personality profile so we could understand how everyone worked and adapt accordingly. That and the open culture of feedback helped us overcome various challenges.”

“This brings me extra personal joy since I was a part of our winning team last year and earned my offer at Accenture the same way,” said Jerry Won, MBA ‘17. “But most importantly, it makes me very proud as a Rosser to know that we are bringing home honors while helping great organizations.”

The first-place finish ensures each student a summer internship offer at Accenture Strategy and the opportunity to present their winning plan to the client.