Boston College MBA students compete to propose socially responsible business for Verizon

Company funds summer internships for winning team at Center for Corporate Citizenship
Jan 7, 2010 5:15 PM ET
Press Release

(3BLMedia/theCSRfeed) - January 7, 2010 - Chestnut Hill, Mass. – Twenty teams of MBA students in Boston College’s Carroll School of Management recently competed to propose ideas that could both create innovative business opportunities for the major telecommunications firm Verizon and do good. In the end, one team came up with a proposal designed to make their student competitors and the competitors of the business green with envy.

The case competition was part of a for-credit required unit on corporate social responsibility  (CSR) integrated into the Management Processes 1 foundation course required for all first-year MBA students at the Carroll School, designed and taught by faculty from the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship. As part of the course, the more than 100 students were given a challenge to use a CSR perspective to create a win-win idea for Verizon that would both address a social need and create new business opportunities for the company. Teams were required to present a summary of the CSR opportunities and challenges facing the company, outline proposed goals and objectives, and create a business development plan. At stake in the competition were two paid summer internships at the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship supported by Verizon.  

A panel of judges from Verizon and Boston College’s Carroll School and Center for Corporate Citizenship selected as the winner a proposal for creating the Green with Envy Program, a package of green products and services including a recyclable phone that will both benefit the environment and enable Verizon to gain market share in the rapidly growing “green” consumer marketplace. The team’s concept also included a Green Alerts program to use Verizon’s wireless technology to keep customers aware of environmental issues and educated on how to reduce their own carbon footprint.

Team members included Aaron Copeland, Jian Kang, Fahd Latif, Rich Lemerise and Krista Zundl. In their proposal the winning team members wrote: “This initiative would help save the planet, increase Verizon’s brand reputation, and improve their bottom line all at the same time. Everyone will be Green with Envy if they are not part of this program.”

Verizon Executive Director of Public Policy and Corporate Responsibility Christopher T. Lloyd agreed, noting “We feel there is an untapped pool of bright minds in business schools who can help companies like ours use CSR as a way to drive real innovation for our business. We were delighted by the results.” Lloyd was joined on the judging panel by Verizon colleagues Brendan O’Connor, director of strategy and development; and Afshin Moshrefi, director of business development and research.

The other two finalists in the competition were proposals for a campaign by Verizon to discourage teens from texting behind the wheel, and an idea for a simple phone designed for use by people with autism and incorporating GPS technology as a tracking device in the event they became lost.

Chris Pinney, director of research and policy at the Boston College Center, and Center Research Manager Vesela Veleva worked with Adjunct Associate Professor, Operations & Strategic Management Department Larry Meile to design and teach this year’s CSR program. “This program reveals the unharnessed potential of young business leaders to use CSR as strategy to drive innovation and grow their business by creating products that generate business opportunities that address social problems,” remarked Pinney.  Carroll School Associate Dean Graduate Programs Jeffrey L. Ringuest commented that “this year’s CSR program and case competition are part of a commitment by the Carroll School to be a leader in the integration of CSR into the core of the MBA program and ensure Carroll School graduates are prepared for the challenges of business leadership in the 21st century.”

The Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship is a membership-based research organization associated with the Carroll School of Management. It is committed to helping business leverage its social, economic and human assets to ensure both its success and a more just and sustainable world. As a leading resource on corporate citizenship, the Center works with global corporations to help them define, plan and operationalize their corporate citizenship. Through the power of research, management and leadership programs, and the insights of its 350 corporate members, the Center creates knowledge, value and demand for corporate citizenship.

For more information contact:

Tim Wilson
Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship