AXA was the company at the heart of this year's case, as a global leader in the insurance and asset management business and highly regarded in terms of its corporate responsibility (CR) platform. In 2014, AXA merged its CR, strategy and public affairs functions, so as to further integrate CR into the core of its business. Students were asked to identify CR issues of particular concern to the company, examine how addressing these issues would add value to the company, and then create metrics that would capture a business unit's success or failure in addressing the CR issue.
Students who tied CR metrics to AXA's operations and growth - who found ways for the company's CR platform to create a competitive advantage - excelled in this year's competition.
Students had just three days to review and respond to the new case study. On-campus competitions determined first-place school winners, whose work was then reviewed by an academic panel assembled by the Aspen Institute to determine the five finalist teams. All finalist teams received prize money, with the first place team receiving $15,000.
It was inspiring to see how these young leaders used this competition as an excellent opportunity to hone their strategic and management decision-making skills, and reflect on their future role in business and society. We at AXA know that we have a ways to go as far as Corporate Responsibility, but our motivation is strong and we know how important it is to our future success to put CR at the core of our strategy.
Now in its sixth year, the Aspen Institute Business & Society International MBA Case Competition encourages next generation business leaders to think innovatively about the role of business in solving the world's most pressing issues.