The competition: University of Michigan Renewable Energy Case Competition, Dec, 6, 2013.
The outcome: Haas took third.
The team: Evening-and-weekend student Mayhul Jain, MBA 15, and full-time students Aaron Beaudette, Jessica Hovick, Bari Wien, and Sherry Wu, all MBA 15.
The Field: Of 24 MBA programs that participated, just 16 were selected to deliver in-person presentations in Ann Arbor. Haas was among four teams – along with Cornell, Yale, and Carnegie Mellon – to advance to the final round.
The challenge: The case, which was distributed in mid-October, gave the teams one week to analyze the market for solar-powered water pumps in three sub-Saharan countries (Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa) and prepare a recommendation on how SunEdison, a solar services company, should enter the market.
The H factor: Inspired by their experience in Problem Finding, Problem Solving, the five students diverged to analyze each market separately, converged to share their insights, and covered whiteboards all over campus with Post-Its to ideate on a solution.
From Marketing, the students learned to frame their solution in terms of what the customer needs rather than what the product provides. The team advocated for a strategy that aligned the company’s market entry goals with the empowerment and success of its customers.
What made them winners: Judges lauded the Haas team for inspiring SunEdison to “question some of the fundamental assumptions in [its] business model.”