Students came in second in the world’s largest case competition

A team consisting of a Full Time MBA in Sustainability and four MSc students from Aarhus University, Business and Social Sciences recently came in second in the world’s largest and most recognised case competition, the Hult Global Case Challenge. The team from Aarhus has developed a business model aimed at offering poor children in developing countries improved access to education and technology.

2012.05.02 | Jesper Toft Madsen

The winning team and Bill Clinton (from the left): Nikolas Bakke, Rajiv Vaid Basaiawmoit, Bill Clinton, Jan Emil Kjærgaard Lindhøj, Mia Møller. The fifth member of the team, Victor Bradu, is not on the photo.

The digital gap between industrialised and developing countries continues to widen as poor countries still cannot afford modern technology. Costs will therefore have to be reduced, and affordable laptops must be made available to developing countries.

As part of a worldwide case competition, the Hult Global Case Challenge, a team of four MSc students and a Full Time MBA in Sustainability, Rajiv Basaiawmoit, from Aarhus University, Business and Social Sciences has designed the DOT.E project which will help the ‘One Laptop Per Child’ (OLPC) NGO meeting its goal of educating poor children with the assistance of children-friendly laptops.

The project won the regional Hult Global Case Challenge final in Dubai, which is one out of five regional finals, and recently came in second at the international final in New York, only beaten by one other team in the world from another international business school, Carnegie Mellon.

- There is no doubt about the fact that it would have been great to be presented with the one million dollar first prize by the former American president, Bill Clinton, but we are very proud of what we have achieved, says Full Time MBA in Sustainability, Rajiv Basaiawmoit.

After the final, he and the rest of the team were invited to join forces with the winning team, which has also developed a business model for the OLPC NGO. Their focus was slightly more American, however, unlike the Danish team, which has adopted their model to Asia and Africa.

Field work at eye level
Rajiv Basaiawmoit has done the team's legwork in his home country India, where his network has provided him with unique field study opportunities. He has spoken with local politicians, teachers, schoolchildren and NGOs in five cities to learn how the country is investing in schools, teaching and infrastructure.

- I did most of my field work in my home state Meghalaya, which is quite underdeveloped compared to other states. The work gave us a basic insight into the reality of India, which greatly benefited my team in Denmark when designing our ‘bottom of the pyramid’ model, says Rajiv Basaiawmoit.

The model is DOT.E’s proposed solution and it requires more commitment from governments, industry and the local populations. One of the ideas is that OLPC should not only provide computers which are resistant to impacts, dust and the high humidity levels found in developing countries, but should also help local teachers implement them in teaching.

Interest from prominent business people
DOT.E is the abbreviation of Deliver Opportunities Through Education, and this simple philosophy has already won so much international recognition that the team of five won the regional Hult Global Case Challenge final in Dubai in February:

- We had to cancel our flight to Denmark, because both NGOs and business leaders from major companies in India and Dubai were interested in our model. I extended my stay in India, where I held meetings with the director of OLPC India, investors from social foundations and experts from IBM and journalists, says Rajiv Basaiawmoit.

He was originally head-hunted for the project by a group of MSc students from Business and Social Sciences, from where he holds a Full Time MBA in Sustainability. This study programme has played an important role for his contribution to the competition.

- My three professors were a great inspiration to me, and I have been able to translate all the learning into practice when designing our solution proposal. I am proud to have been on the MBA programme, not only because it is such a comprehensive, but also involving programme which enabled me to have in-depth discussions with my lecturers, says Rajiv Basaiawmoit.

Sustainable experiences matter
Inclusion of student experiences a defining characteristic of the Full Time MBA. This MBA differs from the traditional MSc programmes in that the applicants must have relevant work experience within sustainability when applying for admission. John Parm Ulhøi, Professor and Director of the Full TIme MBA, agrees with Rajiv Basaiawmoit’s account of the programme:

- I believe that it offers international students considerable added value that they are able to use their practical experience in class discussions. Many students from countries such as India and China are academically very competent, but on the Full Time MBA programme we train their ability to reflect and force them to take a critical approach to the academic content and to voice any disagreement when relevant, he says.

In John Parm Ulhøi’s opinion, for talented students like Rajiv Basaiawmoit there is also an added academic bonus by studying for a Full Time MBA in Sustainability at Aarhus University, as the sustainable basic idea of thinking globally and acting locally is a common denominator for the teaching and the study programme, which is characterised by being research-based and by its practice-oriented learning model.

Facts:

In 2012, the Hult Global Case Challenge received more than 4,000 applications from over 100 countries.

Read more about the case competition


Further comments


Rajiv Basaiawmoit, Full Time MBA in Sustainability
Aarhus University, Business and Social Sciences
Danish mobile: +45 42 15 48 10 (from 8th of May 2012
US phone: +1 610 679 4206
Skype-iD: r.v.bmoit
E-mail: rvbmoit@gmail.com
Web

Rajiv Basaiawmoit holds a PhD in biotechnology from Aalborg University.



John Parm Ulhøi, Professor and Director of MBA
Aarhus University, Business and Social Sciences

Department of Business Administration
Aarhus University, Business and Social Sciences
E-mail: jpu@asb.dk
Mobile: +45 26188329
Web



Morten Rask, Associate Professor
Aarhus University, Business and Social Sciences
Department of Business Administration
E-mail: mra@asb.dk
Tel: + 45 87165161
Mobile: +45 5180 7508
Web

Events, Education, learning and philosophy, Students, Alumni, Awards
Comments on content: 
Jesper Toft Madsen

Revised 2014.07.29

Aarhus University
Nordre Ringgade 1
DK-8000 Aarhus C

Email: au@au.dk
Tel: +45 8715 0000
Fax: +45 8715 0201

CVR no: 31119103

AU on social media
Facebook
LinkedIn
Twitter
YouTube