Notre Dame MBA, Coca-Cola co-sponsor online competition

Author: Carol Elliott

2013 Notre Dame MBA Mini Deep-Dive Challenge

The Coca-Cola Co. is well-recognized for its iconic brands and marketing savvy. And now, one of the world’s best-known companies is partnering with the Notre Dame MBA program at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business to sponsor an innovative online competition that asks participants to submit ideas about how Coca-Cola can advance a global sustainability project currently under development. The grand-prize winner will then have an opportunity to travel with Coca-Cola’s sustainability team to experience the project firsthand.

Coca-Cola and the Notre Dame MBA program are partnering in the fourth annual Notre Dame MBA Mini Deep-Dive Challenge, a virtual case competition open to members of the public as well as prospective MBA students. This year’s challenge invites registered participants to submit a one-page proposal for a corporate sustainability case involving the global water crisis that will be posted to the Deep-Dive Challenge website on Friday (Aug. 30). Participants have the chance to win a $25,000 Notre Dame MBA fellowship and an all-expenses-paid trip to help put Coca-Cola’s sustainability initiative in action, as well as hundreds of other prizes.

“There is a lot more to the Coca-Cola Co. than soda,” said Derk Hendriksen, general manager of Slingshot/EKOCENTER at the Coca-Cola Co. “We are dedicated to bringing clean drinking water to those who currently live without it. Life flows from water: Without safe drinking water, physical well-being is severely limited and therefore the ability to create healthy, prosperous communities is limited. To this end, Coca-Cola is committed to improving the well-being of people who are currently without access to safe drinking water.”

To enter, participants must register on the Deep-Dive Challenge website and follow the instructions to submit a one-page proposal. The challenge’s case brief will provide details about the case, including information on the topic to be addressed. To be eligible for prizes, entries must be received by 6 p.m. EDT on Sept. 18 (Wednesday). Winners will be announced in mid-October.

“The Deep-Dive Challenge is always a great occasion for prospective students to get a taste of the kind of experience the Notre Dame MBA delivers. It requires participants to apply their best problem-solving skills and creativity toward a real-life issue with significant global impact,” said Mary Goss, senior director of the Notre Dame MBA. “But this year, the winning entry will actually get to participate firsthand in a project. We’re thankful to Coca-Cola for providing this amazing opportunity.”

During the competition, participants will be able to chat online with Hendriksen, the leader of the Coca-Cola Co.’s sustainability team. Competitors will also be able to chat with current MBA students and review other sample case studies in order to better understand how cases are analyzed.

Judging will take place in two phases: A team comprising members of the Mendoza College of Business faculty and staff will review all entries and select 10 proposals to be judged by Coca-Cola executives. The executives will choose one grand-prize winner, one second-place winner and one third-place winner. In addition to prizes offered by Coca-Cola, those who submit an entry are eligible to receive prizes from other Notre Dame corporate partners, including McDonald’s and adidas.

Entries will be judged on the following criteria: demonstrated understanding of the business problem presented, insight and creativity of solution, and organization and development of the ideas expressed.

The grand-prize winner will receive a $25,000 fellowship to the Notre Dame MBA program if he or she matriculates into the program in the 2014-2015 academic year (see eligibility details below and online). The first 50 contestants to register for the challenge and submit an entry will receive a $5 McDonald’s Arch Card.

All contestants who submit an entry in accordance with the competition guidelines will receive an application-fee waiver for the Notre Dame MBA program application deadline of Nov. 4 (Monday).

Visit the Challenge website for second- and third-place prizes, as well as additional contest details and rules.

The Notre Dame MBA Mini Deep-Dive Challenge was inspired by Interterm Intensive, a signature component of the Notre Dame MBA curriculum. Each spring and fall, MBA students participate in intense four-day sessions involving real-world presentations and case competitions from some of the top Fortune 100 companies, including Whirlpool, GE, adidas and McDonald’s.

Previous Deep-Dive Challenges have included cases sponsored by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Microsoft and Sprint.

The Notre Dame MBA at the Mendoza College of Business enrolls approximately 340 students annually in its one- and two-year programs. The program is designed to sharpen students’ analytical and problem-solving skills, enhance their leadership ability and increase emphasis on ethical decision-making. Students have the opportunity to study the complexities of global business through international immersions in Asia, Latin America and other locations.

The Notre Dame MBA is ranked 20th among U.S. business schools by Bloomberg Businessweek. The Mendoza College also is a member of the Forté Foundation, a consortium of major corporations and top business schools supporting women in business leadership roles.

The Coca-Cola Co. is the world’s largest beverage company, with more than 500 brands. Led by Coca-Cola, the world’s most valuable brand, the company’s portfolio features 16 billion-dollar brands including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, vitaminwater, Powerade and Minute Maid. Globally, it is the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, ready-to-drink coffees, and juices and juice drinks.

Through the world’s largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy Coca-Cola beverages at a rate of more than 1.8 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, the company is focused on initiatives that reduce its environmental footprint; support active, healthy living; create a safe, inclusive work environment for its associates; and enhance the economic development of the communities where the company operates. For more information, visit Coca-Cola Journey at

Grand prize details: The $25,000 fellowship is valid only if the grand-prize winner matriculates into the University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business MBA one- or two-year program for the 2014-15 academic year. The fellowship must be applied to the cost of tuition at the University of Notre Dame. The grand-prize winner must complete the formal application process and be accepted into the MBA program of the Mendoza College of Business pursuant to the admissions criteria set forth. Failure to gain admittance into the MBA program in the University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business negates the $25,000 fellowship offer. Fellowship is nontransferable and may not be redeemed for monetary value.

Contact: Carol Elliott, interim director of marketing communications, Mendoza College of Business, 574-631-2627,