At Newmont, we are committed to making a lasting and positive contribution toward sustainable development through our performance in environmental stewardship and social responsibility programs. Our future success relies on preparing the next generation of business leaders to address sustainability challenges, and we have a long history of partnering with colleges and universities to provide students the opportunity to apply their knowledge in the real world.
Earlier this year, through our sponsorship of the 2013 Net Impact Case Competition, hosted by the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Leeds School of Business, Newmont challenged master of business administration (MBA) students from across the U.S. and Canada to address a sustainability challenge while demonstrating financial returns.
Specifically, we challenged participants to develop a negotiation strategy for a hypothetical mineral agreement between Newmont and a fictitious country. Working in teams of four, students developed strategies that demonstrated shared value for stakeholders, including significant and lasting social value for the local community and financial returns for Newmont.
“While details of the mining project were fabricated for the purpose of the competition, the circumstances of the case closely resembled many of the issues we address in the mining industry,” explains Brooke Bacon, Newmont’s Senior Manager of Talent Management. “So it was a very true-to-life scenario that required real thinking and real solutions.”
After Newmont executives and judges whittled down the number of contenders in a first round of competition in December, the remaining 20 teams assembled at CU-Boulder for the final round of competition in February. Although teams arrived with their cases prepared and ready to present, the evening before the presentations, judges announced new and unexpected developments in the hypothetical scenario. With only a few hours until the semifinal round of competition, teams scrambled to adjust their presentations.
While all 20 teams presented compelling cases, only one earned the judges’ top rating. The University of Washington team earned first place, $10,000 in award money and an experience that left them better prepared to address sustainability challenges and opportunities in their careers. Finishing second and third were the University of Alberta and Babson College teams, respectively.
“The Net Impact Case Competition was a phenomenal all-around experience,” says Christopher Walker, a graduate student at the University of Washington and member of the winning team.“ Hearing first-hand accounts of the challenges facing the mining industry opened my eyes to the opportunities we, as future leaders in sustainability, can help address. Discussing potential solutions gives me hope that companies like Newmont can continue to supply critical natural resources while balancing greater societal needs.”
The competitors weren’t the only ones who benefited from the experience. Brooke, who describes the event as a win-win, said, “Partnering with the Leeds School of Business at CU-Boulder in this very unique way exposed us to fresh thinking and introduced us to potential future employees. It’s one of the more innovative ways that we’ve partnered with universities.”