December 02, 2021


Organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the annual competition challenges MBA students to solve real-world issues facing the business community

Washington, D.C. – Today graduate students from Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business were named winners of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s fifth annual MBA Case Competition, taking the award home for a second time. Amid a national reckoning over racial inequality, this year’s competition challenged students to create solutions that help close America’s entrepreneurship gap by increasing access to capital for Black entrepreneurs.

A 2020 U.S. Chamber Foundation poll found that more than half of Black entrepreneurs surveyed through our Coalition to Back Black Businesses initiative said that they faced challenges accessing capital.“Addressing the root causes of this problem will unleash significant opportunities for businesses of all sizes and in all sectors across America. The solutions presented today give me tremendous hope for the future, and I am so impressed by the ingenuity of these students—our next generation of business leaders,” said Carolyn Cawley, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

This year’s competition saw growing interest from national as well as global MBA programs. Forty-nine teams registered to participate in the competition, with three teams presenting their solutions live to a panel of judges in the final round. Students from Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business took first place, followed by New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business and Temple University’s Fox School of Business, for second and third places, respectively.

The students from Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business impressed the judges with a proposal to invest $10M in Black-owned businesses in Tulsa, Okla. Its members include Abhimanyu Bansal, Nicholas D. Khater, and Maya E. Stine.New this year, the competition also featured two “Audience Choice” awards, with both the “Best Q&A” and “Best Presenters” awards going to New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business.

The 2021 MBA Case Competition was sponsored by FedEx Freight. Now in its fifth year, the competition aims to empower future business leaders and highlight how businesses play a positive, critical role in communities around the world.

“Each year, we look forward to working with the U.S. Chamber Foundation for the MBA Case Competition,” said Lance Moll, FedEx Freight president and CEO. “This year’s topic was particularly relevant as the business community continues to find ways to support diverse communities in innovative ways. We commend each team for their dedication and hard work and congratulate the students from Rice University for their winning presentation.”

The judges for this year’s competition were: Jeffery B. Greer, senior vice president of human resources for FedEx Freight; Bonnie Voldeng, vice president for FedEx Freight Direct; Ella F. Washington, professor of the practice at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business; and David Hirschmann, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber.

For more information on the competition, go to