A team of six Full-time MBA students recently competed in the Daniels Ethics Race &  Case Competition in Denver, taking the title of the combination of ethics competition and ski race over second-place Colorado State University and Denver in third. One of the team members, Whitney Williams, shared her experience.

Whitney writes: 

This is not your average case competition.

The David Daniels Ethics Race & Case judges a team’s skiing ability, ethical intelligence and their business savvy. This popular and competitive event is now in its 11th year at the University of Denver and Beaver Creek Ski Resort. Last year’s David Eccles School of Business team won the whole thing, so we had big ski boots to fill.

Two weeks before the competition our six-member team received the case. Our challenge was to develop a commercialization strategy for Sample6’s rapid listeria testing product. Listeria has one of the highest mortality rates of any food-borne illness, killing more than 260 people in the United States each year. Sample6’s product is able to test a food-manufacturing facility for listeria and show results within 4 hours; competing products can take 24-72 hours to show results.

The six of us spent many late nights and early mornings deciding how we would leverage Sample6’s value proposition into a business plan. Throughout our research we used the utilitarian ethical framework to evaluate our decisions. For example, when we were deciding what food category to target for the initial product launch, we asked ourselves, “Which category harms society the most (for instance, processed meats or dairy)?” And we asked, “Which category would provide the greatest net benefit to society?” Our final recommendation outlined Sample6’s target market, marketing strategy and funding plan – and even included a unique social impact bond to cover R&D expens