Photo courtesy of Mick Jermsurawong

Hult Global Case Challenge first step for NYUAD team

Photo courtesy of Mick Jermsurawong Days after finishing as a top-five team at the 4th Annual Hult Case Study Regional Competition in Dubai, NYUAD ...

Mar 16, 2013

Photo courtesy of Mick Jermsurawong
Days after finishing as a top-five team at the 4th Annual Hult Case Study Regional Competition in Dubai, NYUAD sophomore Mick Jermsurawong described their project with enthusiasm.
“We really believe that we have a conceptually strong idea,” he said.
Jermsurawong, along with NYUAD sophomores Corey Meyer, Anirudh Sood, Jaen Ocadiz and Israel Desta, had developed a plan to provide food security in urban slums. Focusing first on urban slums of Bangalore and New Delhi, the team spent hours together in heated debate in the weeks leading up to the competition, which took place on March 1st and 2nd in Dubai.
“The basic idea,” said Desta, “is to provide food security to urban slums through two approaches: decreasing the price of food, and increasing employment.”
Their proposal sought to connect with established non-governmental organizations that provide food in urban communities, and help increase their efficiency of food production. Over the course of their research and development process, the group travelled to Bangalore, India. There, they visited Akshaya Patra, the food security organization with which they were developing their pilot project.
“Visiting India really helped us understand our project,” said Meyer.
Theirs was one of two NYUAD teams competing in this year’s regional finals in Dubai. Though both teams were composed of freshmen and sophomore students, the teams had high expectations. In 2012, a team of four NYUAD sophomores and one NYUNY alumnus claimed the top prize in the Dubai regionals, eventually becoming one of three teams to claim the global award for their plan to provide solar lighting to homes in Africa.
Founded in 2010 by the Hult International Business School and the Clinton Global Initiative, the Hult Global Case Challenge brings together students from around the world to develop a project that tackles a global issue. Students congregate in six regional finals in San Francisco, Boston, London, Shanghai and Dubai to share their visions for social change, competing for a chance at winning US $1,000,000 in start-up capital to implement their new social enterprises.
Of the six regional finals, Dubai’s was the largest and most diverse, with 57 teams congregating from as far away as John’s Hopkins University, Lahore School of Economics, and the University of Cape Town. Many of the competitors were MBA candidates.
Although they did not win the regional finals, the NYUAD students see the Hult Challenge as just the beginning for their project.
“We received very positive feedback,” said Desta, “we are now looking at how to develop our project further.”
The team plans on resubmitting their proposal to the online competition, where they will have another chance to be considered for the prize.
“We have most of the work done already,” said Ocadiz, “if we convey our message in a deeper way we can definitely make it to the top.”
Professor Ramesh Jagannathan, who mentored the students leading up to the competition, described their proposal as a “great business model with huge potential.” He said of the students, “[they are] extremely professional, committed to success, passionate and … winners in every sense of the word.”
Looking forward, the group is unanimously positive about their experience in the competition.
“It doesn’t matter if you win or not. In the end, what matters is if you go ahead and make a difference,” Sood said.
Alistair Blacklock is co-editor-in-chief. Email him at
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