Cambridge Judge MBA students win $10,000 prize at Energy in Emerging Markets Case Competition .
A team of 5 MBA students from Cambridge Judge Business School won the top prize at the 2022 Energy in Emerging Markets Case Competition. Faisal Alhadi, Emily Cavanagh, Jatin Dhyani, Shashank Jasrapuria and Aparna Holenarasipura Sreedhara (all MBA 2022) beat a global field, including teams from Europe, North America, Africa and Asia.
The competition, in its 10th year, is for graduate students to propose unconventional, business-based solutions to the challenges of accessing energy in the developing world. Around 75 teams took part in the challenge organised by the MBA Energy Club at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.
Challenge to make clean energy more accessible in Sub-Saharan Africa
Teams were invited to pitch a business model for advancing clean energy access in Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda. Nearly 600 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa live without access to electricity, with rural areas especially poorly serviced. Any solution to bridge the gap therefore needed to complement the traditional approach of centralised grid electrification with innovative off-grid solutions, such as solar home systems and mini grids.
Nithio, the industry partner for the competition, is an AI-driven platform for clean energy investment in the region. Students were asked to propose a go-to-market strategy for Nithio’s potential expansion of its lending services to a full range of energy access and service providers, including off-grid and cooking solutions, diesel generator replacement and electric appliances.
Solutions assessed by panel of expert judges
Judges from a range of organisations, including Schneider Electric, Acualize Solar, PwC and Nithio, evaluated the teams’ presentations as well as offering career advice to those taking part.
“We were so delighted to win,” says CJBS team member Emily Cavanagh. “We couldn’t believe it as the other teams were just so excellent. It was such an honour to participate alongside such talent.”
“Eight years of experience working internationally in the energy sector combined with the knowledge of the other team members resulted in an incredibly diverse professional team,” says Faisal Alhadi. “Because of this, we were able to distinguish ourselves from the other 75 international teams, create our in-depth investigation, and develop an entrepreneurial viewpoint that pleased the judges with its recommendations. We opted to develop strategic solutions from our shared values as a Cambridge MBA team because we understood that this was a global concern that would help people live better and promote energy access in Africa.”