the wake of catastrophic natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, the
Tōhoku earthquake in Japan and the typhoon striking the Philippines, the
survivors quickly face a very urgent need: safe drinking water.
the sources of clean water are destroyed, along with the technology, energy and
transportation systems needed to bring in fresh supplies. How do you deploy
water purification technology anywhere in the world within days or even hours
of a disaster?
was the business problem posed by the University
of Notre Dame MBA at the Mendoza College of
Business and The Coca-Cola
Company as part of a virtual case competition called the Notre Dame MBA Mini Deep-Dive Challenge.
Launched in September, the annual contest recently awarded prizes to the top
three proposals submitted by 665 registrants.
Lee of Mishawaka, Ind., submitted the winning proposal, and earned himself a
trip to work with Coca-Cola’s Sustainability team on a water purification
project in a developing country. Lee also wins a $25,000 fellowship if he
successfully matriculates into the Notre Dame MBA program.
am extremely excited and sincerely grateful to work with The Coca-Cola Company on this
project,” said Lee, who earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial design and
pre-professional studies from Notre Dame in 2010. “The thing I’m most excited
about is the ability to experience a world beyond the one I live in. Everyone
dreams about changing the world, but very few actually get to experience it.
This experience will give me a better understanding of what we can do to truly
make the world better.”
Notre Dame MBA Deep Dive is always a great contest because it gives those
who are interested in our MBA program a glimpse of the kind of innovative case
work we do,” said Mary
Goss, Notre Dame MBA senior director. “We appreciate Coca-Cola’s enthusiasm
and willingness to take the contest to the next level by offering the
opportunity to actually work on a project in the field with their team. That
could be a life-changing experience for our winner.”
online contest specifically asked entrants to submit a one-page proposal for
helping Coca-Cola implement EKOCENTER in
disaster relief situations. EKOCENTER is an off-the-grid, modularly designed
kiosk that delivers safe drinking water, wireless communication, power and
other functionality to jump start community development. Coca-Cola is
partnering with governments, other businesses and members of the civil sector
to deliver EKOCENTER to rural communities in underserved, hard-to-reach parts
of the world.
utilizes the Slingshot purification system – a technology developed by DEKA
R&D. Slingshots utilize vapor compression distillation (VCD) technology to
turn any source of dirty water into safe drinking water. Each machine delivers
about 200 gallons of safe drinking water per day at the electricity cost of
less than a hair dryer (1kWh). Coca-Cola is currently deploying systems in
Africa and Latin America with plans to accelerate and expand global placements.
When fully scaled, the project aims to deliver more than 500 million liters of
safe drinking water to 500,000 people globally.
the Mendoza College of Business, we believe business can help address human and
societal concerns to advance the common good,” said Derk Hendriksen, general
manager of Slingshot/EKOCENTER at The
Coca-Cola Company. “As a Company, we see the future through three
lenses—people, communities and the environment—and with the Deep Dive Challenge
we were able to hear fresh, unique ideas on how to make a positive difference
in all three. The quality of questions and dialogue leading up to the MBA
submission was testimony to the tremendous pool of people and talent Notre Dame
brings to the fore.”
coming up with his proposal, Lee said he first focused on the logistical
problem of getting EKOCENTERs to affected areas quickly.
had several ideas for this, but the one that made the most sense was having
them already situated on a transportation vehicle ready to be moved to any
location at any given time,” he said. “This made me think about Southwest’s
business model of having hubs around the country that are within a 500-mile
that same strategy, I chose 24 sites around the world that were positioned in
target markets, were within a 500- to 1000-mile range of another Slingshot site
and were in areas prone to natural disasters,” he added. “In the event of a
natural disaster, the closest transportation vehicles would move toward the
affected site and provide anywhere from 400 or more Slingshots or 350,000
liters of safe drinking water within 24 hours.”
Coca-Cola judges noted that Lee’s plan showed an “excellent combination of
understanding the problem, thinking creatively and building a concrete, doable plan including timeline. It is a very
well presented plan that does an outstanding job of creating a concrete summary
that is visually appealing, and packs a great deal of content.”
will work with Lee in deciding the location and timing of his trip to work on a
global sustainability project with the team.
place was awarded to Michael Windle of Washington, D.C., while third place went
to Kevin Kearney of Pittsburgh, Pa. Each won a variety of prizes from Coca-Cola’s
EKOCYCLE line of
clothing, all of which is made from recycled materials. The first 50
participants to enter the competition and submit plans also received McDonald’s
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
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
Interim Director of Marketing Communications
Mendoza College of Business
University of Notre Dame
Phone: (574) 631-2627
Cell: (574) 360-1942