SMU Team Cognitare emerge 2nd runners-up at the McDonough Business Strategy Challenge 2022

A team from Cognitare, SMU’s business case club, comprising Megan Bon (Year 2, Lee Kong School of Business), Shaune Chow (Year 2, School of Social Sciences), Matthew Chan (Year 2, Lee Kong Chian School of Business) and Li Mingyang (Year 2, School of Economics) emerged second runners-up at the prestigious McDonough Business Strategy Case Competition (MBSC) this year.

Organised by Georgetown University in Washington, the 18th instalment of the McDonough Business Strategy Case Competition was held virtually from 2nd February to 6th February.  The competition is considered the largest case competition in the United States, exclusively for non-profit clients.  20 teams from renowned universities around the world pitted against each other in coming up with creative solutions to the most prevalent and urgent problems that beset the non-profit landscape.

This year’s non-profit client was GOODProjects, a community-based non-profit organisation (NPO) that aims to eradicate poverty. “Not just another non-profit”, GOODProjects takes a holistic approach and believes that every member of a family unit must be supported in order for a family to be truly lifted out of poverty. Teams were tasked to think big and re-imagine how GOODProjects can transform its positioning and impact model to not only stand out in an increasingly crowded non-profit landscape, but also scale its operations to achieve its ambitious goal of zero poverty in the areas they work in.

Teams were given 28 hours to analyse and develop strategic recommendations on how GOODProjects can achieve its vision. Despite the gruelling competition format and keen competition, Team Cognitare from SMU impressed the judges to become divisional champions and overall 2nd runners-up.

Team Cognitare presented a compelling strategy to turn GOODProjects into a convener that brings other smaller and more specialised NPOs together to scale and continue providing services to their beneficiaries in various areas of their lives.  The team proposed for a community of NPOs to be built on the Slack platform, so that GOODProjects and other NPOs would be able to work together to come up with better programmes.

Team captain, Megan Bon said, “I am really proud of my team’s achievement. This was the team’s first experience within the NPO space, and we did so amidst all the challenges during the pandemic. We have come so far due to the perseverance that my team has shown.  The team is grateful to everyone who has supported us and thankful to be given the opportunity to represent SMU and make our mark on the international stage. Hopefully this showcases the abilities of our students and serves as an inspiration for other students to take on similar challenges.”