MBA Challenge 2017 – Results

“Competitions, such as the Nespresso Sustainability MBA Challenge, provide our students with opportunities to apply skills and knowledge, developed during their MBA studies, to solving problems that affect businesses and communities”

Professor Sven Feldmann – Melbourne Business School


We want to be the kind of company you admire, the company of choice for discerning coffee drinkers and talented people who share our goal of being the highest quality and most sustainable coffee brand. How should we leverage our sustainability commitments to be your company of choice?

This year, we had an exciting Sustainability MBA Challenge with 88 Universities from 25 countries submitted proposals to the Challenge. The countries where the schools came from were: Australia, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom and the United States.

See full Challenge 2017 case study here!

See Backgrounder 2017!

See full list of schools that participated in the Sustainability MBA Challenge 2017


On behalf of the Nespresso Sustainability MBA Challenge co-organizers, Nespresso and INCAE, we would like to congratulate the winning team from Melbourne School of Business for their success in this year’s Nespresso Sustainability MBA Challenge. The Nudging Towards More Sustainable Value proposition went above and beyond, wowing the judges with its comprehensive, unique and innovative ideas. Judges were also incredibly impressed by the outstanding work submitted by runner up teams, Rollins College, Crummer Graduate School of Business, USA and Yale University, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, USA. Finally, we would like to thank the 88 teams from 25 different countries who participated for their contribution to this year’s challenge. We greatly appreciate all of your hard work, and encourage teams to continue exploring the world of sustainability!

Melbourne School of Business

Greetings to the winning team for the excellent job, professionalism and innovation shown during the final presentation.

Melbourne ganadores

Winning team. David Creak, Yuan Yuan Zhao, Sven Feldmann (coach), Maree Swiden and Toni Kovacevic.

The Winning Proposal

Nudging Towards More Sustainable Value

Nudging Towards More Sustainable Value proposal goes deep into the Nespresso value chain and how the brand is perceived. The strategy uses behavioral economics to create ‘nudges’, which apply small changes to Nespresso’s touchpoints with consumers and employees to increase participation in sustainability initiatives, creating genuine ‘buy-in’. This strategy is executed tactically across the business to consumer (B2C), business to business (B2B) and potential and existing employees to cement the new value proposition. This creates a virtuous cycle where engaged employees are leveraged to engage customers – creating ‘buy-in’ and increasing brand value – which then drives talent growth and customer acquisition and retention.

The Event


Lawrence Pratt INCAE Business School; Melbourne Business School winning team: Maree Swinden, David Creak, Yuanyuan Zhao, Toni Kovacevic, behind professor Sven Feldmann; in front Jean-Marc Duvoisin CEO Nestlé Nespresso and right Emilie Dardaine from CIMS.


Finalist teams with their coaches, Judges and Nespresso Excutives.

From left to right; Emilie Dardaine, Jérome Perez, Laz Martinez, Dominique Turpin, Sharada Vadlamani, Stuart Decew, Ariel Russ, Michelle Mendlewicz, Thuy Phung, David Creak, Jean Marc Duvoisin, Maree Swinden, Toni Kovacevic, Polly Courtice, Yuanyuan Zhao, Sven Feldmann, Austin Montgomery, Lavanya Setia, Keith Whittingham, Henri-Claude de Bettignies, Matt Dickey, Michelle de Obeso Hernández, Alfonso González, Lawrence Pratt, Andrew Seidl, Daniel Weston, Frank Wijen.

The Finalist Proposals

Green Teams: Activating Employees’ Talent to Engage Club Members on Sustainability by Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

The proposal is a two-tiered approach for Nespresso to engage customers in an immersive coffee experience that embodies a comprehensive sustainability journey from farm to post-consumer waste. This includes recruiting, cultivating, and retaining employees who are committed to Nespresso’s sustainability values, and harnessing that power to effectively and authentically translate sustainability initiatives to current and potential Club Members.

To attract and retain the best talents, they propose a strategy built upon Nespresso’s employee engagement framework of “awareness, engagement and commitment,” and recommend a more comprehensive awareness raising campaign to generate interest in sustainability, development of Green Teams consisting of interested employees, allocation of Nespresso Sustainability Innovation Fund (NSIF) to support Green Teams’ ideas.

For customers, they recommend creating communication scenarios that connect to their core values, interests, and preferences. Such as social media campaigns, featuring Nespresso’s partnerships with nonprofits and civil society organizations, social media influencers as new Brand Ambassadors, social media contests and gifts between other ideas.

NespressoConnect by Rollins College – Crummer Graduate School of Business

The proposal NespressoConnect will provide the platform to connect with farmers, agronomists, and other stakeholders in the journey to their cup of coffee. Club Members will also be recognized for their contributions as a stakeholder in the journey towards sustainability. Humans resources will embed the sustainability commitments into every aspect of the employee and customer journey. There will be a consistent messaging throughout the brand as well as consistent initiatives from department to department regardless of their location or function. As human resources successfully blends organizational commitments with talented team members, Nespresso will see a significant return on investment and become the company of choice for future generations.

List of judges

The final judging panel was selected specifically to ensure a mix of in-house expertise and Nespresso management, international development expertise and a broad and global-level range of socio-economic and environmental expertise in business and sustainability.

International experts:

Andy Seidl, Ph.D, Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at Colorado State University.

Dominique Turpin, Ph.D.  Dominique Turpin served as IMD President from July 2010 until January 2017.

Frank Wijen, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Strategic Management at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University.

Henri-Claude de Bettignies, Ph.D. Henri-Claude de BETTIGNIES is Emeritus Professor of Asian Business and the Aviva Chair in Leadership and Responsibility, Emeritus, at INSEAD.

Polly Courtice, MA, Director of the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL).

Thomas Dyllick, PhD, Professor of Sustainability Management at University of St.Gallen.

Lawrence Pratt, MPPM, Senior Lecturer at INCAE Business School, Costa Rica. (Judge non-voting and Facilitator)


Judges from Nestlé Nespresso:

Jean-Marc Duvoisin, CEO, Nestlé Nespresso S.A.

Alfonso Gonzalez Loeschen, Chief Customer Officer, Nestlé Nespresso SA.

Daniel Weston, General Counsel and Creating Shared Value (CSV) Director at Nestlé Nespresso SA.

Laz Martinez, Global Head of Human Resources, Nestlé Nespresso S.A.


The three finalist teams traveled to Nespresso Headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland on June 19th, 2017. There, they presented their proposal to a panel made of Nestlé-Nespresso top executives, high-level academics and sustainability experts.

Melbourne Business School, Australia

Rollins College, Crummer Graduate School of Business, USA

Yale University, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, USA

Schools listed by countries’ alphabetical order


Nespresso, CIMS and INCAE wish to thank all teams for their valuable participation in this year Challenge. The teams’ time and effort have been truly appreciated, and in particular their interest in Nespresso’s work to advance sustainability throughout its business.

After a strict process of first round of review, here are the 15 semi-finalist schools, whose proposals have been reviewed by another bunch of international judges during a second round of review, the latter leading to selecting the three finalists.

Colorado State University, United States

Copenhagen Business School, CBS, Denmark

Concordia University, John Molson School of Business, Canada

Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, Dept. of Management Studies, India

Kühne Logistics University, Germany

Mannheim Business School, Germany

Melbourne Business School, Australia

Nanyang Technological University, Nanyang Business School, Singapore

National University of Singapore, NUS Business School, Singapore

Rollins College, Crummer Graduate School of Business, United States

Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia

University of St. Gallen, Switzerland

University of Victoria, Canada

Yale University, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, United States

We will send feedback for all the proposals that did not pass through next round in the coming weeks.